Unions pressing case of ‘superbugs’ in hospitals

Demands include reduced contracting out of housekeeping and lower occupancy rates
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 07/18/2011

Unions across Canada are using recent “superbug” outbreaks to press health authorities to stop contracting out housekeeping services and reduce hospital overcrowding.

Ten Ontario communities have confirmed outbreaks in recent weeks, the worst in Niagara and Guelph where several people have died. In all, there have been over 20 deaths linked to outbreaks of C. difficile in Ontario since late May.

Hospital- acquired infections affect about 250,000 patients in Canada a year and result in about 8,000 deaths. Although the three main superbugs — C. difficile, MRSA and VRE — are in every hospital in the country, unions say health authorities could be doing more to stop them.