In Brief: Lower vaccination rate leads to increased hospital admissions this year

This year’s flu strain is eight to 10 times more lethal to older people than 2009’s H1N1 virus, yet far fewer Ontarians got their flu shot this year. Speaking to the Torstar news service, Dr. Allison McGeer, head of infection control at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, said “vaccination rates are lower this year than they have been for quite a while against seasonal flu and we’re paying for it with a lot of hospital admissions.” McGeer said vaccination rates are down as much as 10 to 15 per cent from normal Ontario levels.

Seniors group questions priorities of Sudbury hospital

John Lindsay, Chair of Friendly to Seniors Sudbury, has written a letter to the local paper suggesting their CEO should focus his energies on emergency wait times, the hospital’s “death ratio” and the number of alternate level of care patients at the hospital. He writes in the Sudbury Star: “While it is debatably commendable that Sudbury Regional Hospital CEO Dr. Roy wants to make his institution the medical Harvard of the North as an educational and research centre … we think his more immediate concerns would be improving performance of our emergency department, now ranked the poorest in the province, and also our patient death ratio, now higher than the provincial average.”

P3 advocates looking beyond hospitals

Privatization advocates are starting to look beyond hospitals for potential public-private partnership deals. Most Ontario P3 hospital projects will be completed this year, and many P3 consortiums are now looking at energy and water. The higher cost of borrowing for the consortiums has also made it more difficult to argue that these projects are cost effective.  Renew Canada Magazine recently reported the widening spread between the government and corporate costs of borrowing is making that argument harder to win. Speaking on a panel sponsored by the magazine,  KPMG’s Brad Watson says “we all make the argument that this about value for money and transferring risk and so on, but it’s so hard to not look at the cost of borrowing for (the private sector) as opposed to one of those provincial bodies.”

 Hamilton St. Joseph’s battling C-Difficile

 The Hamilton Spectator recently reported that another patient with C-Difficile has died at St. Joseph’s Hospital – the 12th death since October. The total number of cases with C-Difficle has risen to 83 of which 51 were acquired in the hospital. A special provincial team is conducting a review into the outbreak and is making recommendations according to the newspaper.

Check lists could spare 60,000 surgery patients from complications

By using surgical check lists, Dr. Bryce Taylor, Chief Surgeon at Toronto’s University Health Network estimates 60,000 people who have operations would be spared complications. Speaking to the National Post, Taylor said “that’s a pretty impressive number for something that doesn’t cost you anything to do.” The findings come from an 8-city study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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