American liberals love to crow about Canada’s healthcare system, but the reality is far different from the rhetoric.

From The Star:

It’s been a rough few months for Ontario hospitals. Wait times for patients admitted through ERs have hit peak levels; more patients have been admitted than discharged; and a number of hospitals have simply run out of space.

Frazzled administrators, forced to get creative in accommodating the overflow, have coined the term “unconventional spaces” to describe their solution. They have converted into temporary accommodations patient lounges, staff classrooms, offices — and in some cases even storage rooms.

Overcrowded hospitals are nothing new to Ontario. They typically experience patient surges every January and February when flu season peaks and when there is a rebound effect after the Christmas lull. Hospitals struggle with overcrowded emergency rooms across Canada, and in other countries, too.

But there has been something different about this year’s surge in Ontario, according to numerous hospital CEOs interviewed by the Star — a handful on the record, but most off.

It was bigger than in years past and caught many by surprise. Patient capacity at about half of Ontario’s 145 hospital corporations exceeded 100 per cent and reached as high as 130 per cent, according to figures requested by the Star from the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA).

Hardest hit have been large urban hospitals, regional facilities and some community hospitals. Even some rural hospitals have been overwhelmed. They include hospitals throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa, London, Kingston, Windsor, Sudbury and Cornwall.

Many have been overcapacity for weeks, even months. While the surge has somewhat abated in recent weeks, it appears that some of the intensified demand for hospital services won’t subside any time soon.

The entire post is well worth the read. The Star cites austerity and failure of the overall healthcare system as contributing factors to hospital overloads.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye