FILE -- The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is expecting a deficit this year.
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Hospital officials say $5 million is needed to deal with a capacity crisis that has hit health-care providers across the city this year.
Over capacity issues have forced the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre into a deficit, which under provincial law isn't allowed, for two of the past three years.
Earlier this month the hospital board was presented with figures showing this year would be no different as it has done all it can to improve efficiency but would still need $5 million if it wants to keep serving as the region's health sciences centre.
"If the (Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre) continues with the same service levels which have been provided since 2010/11 and it does not receive additional funding, it will continue to erode its working capital position at the rate of approximately $5 million/year," the report states.
"The only way the (Health Sciences Centre) can balance its budget, without any additional funding, is to make substantial service cuts to its inpatient surgical bed program. The Local Health Integration Network does not support these types of service cuts, as this would significantly compromise (the Health Sciences Centre’s) regional and
academic role in the LHIN."
An extra $5 million would help relieve pressure from a record amount of people waiting in hospital to receive other care in the community and, according to the report, the LHIN is recommending the hospital needs the additional $5 million in base funding.
The hospital only receives funding for 386 people. With more than 400 people currently, the hospital has to bring in extra staff and resources its not funded for. That's leaving them around $5 million short by the end of the year.
"To look after patients that are in unfunded beds," hospital executive vice president of patient services Mark Henderson said.
Over the next three years the hospital also needs to start replacing equipment that's been there since it opened more than 10 years ago.
"It breaks down and then you're facing very expensive repair bills or they break down completely and you can’t deliver service," Henderson said.
But on Friday Northwest LHIN CEO Laura Kokocinski said over capacity is an issue all over the city, which has led to all health care providers coming together to figure out short, medium- and long-term solutions.
"Once that plan is ready we will have a better idea of what our needs are both for today and going forward," she said.
As for the hospital's budget, she's aware that there have been additional expenses and pressures.
"They are tracking and forecasting to a balanced budget by the end of the year," she said.
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