02/20/2013 10:39 EST | Updated 04/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Health CEO says he wants to tackle overcrowding issues at Regina hospitals

REGINA - The CEO of the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region says too many people are staying too long in hospital.

Keith Dewar also says there are too many people with chronic conditions in hospital who could be adequately cared for in the community.

Dewar says overcapacity at Regina's two hospitals is leading to longer wait times and putting a strain on hospital staff.

He says both the Regina General and Pasqua hospitals routinely operate at more than 100 per cent capacity, and he wants to get that down.

He says he'd like to see capacity operate at about 90 per cent.

He says the region is failing to meet provincial wait time targets, has a deficit forecast to be $24.5 million by year-end, and is seeing increases in sick time and overtime hours for staff.

Dewar says adding more beds isn't the answer. Instead, he wants to make more efficient use of the beds they already have.

"Because of issues around access to primary health care, we have people being admitted for chronic conditions that, if properly supported, could be taken care of in the community."