ONA requests immediate government action
TORONTO, July 23, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is
calling for a meeting with the Premier and Ministry of Health to work
together with the union to develop strategies to keep nurses safe on
The decision to appeal to the highest levels of government was spurred
by a recent incident at Southlake Regional Health Centre in which a
nurse was beaten and three others injured during an assault involving a
patient. Southlake nurses had made repeated requests for extra security
from hospital management as they cared for numerous patients who had
been identified as being a potential danger to themselves or others in
an overcrowded ER; their requests were denied. Southlake management had
collected back the nurses' panic buttons - used to summon help -
several months earlier. It was in this powder-keg environment that the
patient attacked staff.
ONA has noted an escalation of reports of violent incidents from many of
its 60,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals
and a reluctance by the Ministry of Labour to fully use existing
provincial legislation to prevent such attacks. Hospital management
also regularly fail to fully comply with provincial legislation, and
police rarely use the relevant sections of the Criminal Code in these
cases to file charges, and to ONA's knowledge, they certainly have
never done so in health care.
ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN says the union will not stand by
and allow nurses and allied health professionals to continue to be
beaten in the workplace. "There is existing legislation that very
clearly lays out the responsibility of employers to take every
precaution reasonable to keep workers safe. Combined with dangerously
low staffing levels across all sectors of health care, it's a recipe
for disaster that we're determined to fix."
ONA fought hard for new workplace violence legislation following the
workplace murder of Lori Dupont, RN, yet regularly sees evidence that
health care leaders are consciously denying the protections needed to
prevent attacks on staff.
York Regional Police declined to lay criminal charges against Southlake
for what ONA believes was a wanton disregard for the safety of nurses.
Ministry of Labour orders written against the hospital have done
nothing to immediately keep nurses safe.
"Now is the time to engage with the provincial government," says
Haslam-Stroud. "We simply can't wait for another nurse to be killed on
the job before they are protected by the full force of the law."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health
professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates
providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public
health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond Cell: (416) 986-8240; email@example.com
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses