Hospital RN Cuts Hit the GTA: Southlake Regional cuts more than 32,000 hours of RN care

NEWMARKET, ON, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ - Yet another Ontario hospital is putting its patients well-being at risk by cutting Registered Nurses (RNs) to balance its budget – this time in the Greater Toronto Area.

Southlake Regional Health Centre is the latest in a long list of hospitals announcing that it will cut RN positions, risking patient care because it has a budget deficit.

"Years of frozen funding for hospitals and a new hospital funding formula have resulted in short-sighted cuts to RN staff that are seriously compromising patient care," said Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Cutting 17 RN positions is the equivalent of our patients losing more than 32,000 hours of RN care per year, which flies in the face of all scientific and research evidence about the impact of RN care on patient outcomes."

Haslam-Stroud notes that research has proven that every extra patient added to an RN's workload increases the patients' risks of suffering complications or even death by seven per cent.

"The research findings are clear," says Haslam-Stroud. "Patients will be at increased risk of medication errors, suffering from bedsores, cardiac arrest, pneumonia, sepsis, ulcers blood clots and pneumonia."

In addition to RN cuts, the hospital plans to reduce services and close beds. Some of the RN positions will be filled by workers with lesser qualifications, despite evidence showing that the quality of care will suffer.

"Patients will face longer waits when Southlake reduces services to the endoscopy and ambulatory treatment areas. Overflow beds will be closed, reducing the hospital's vital "surge capacity" should the beds be needed," said Haslam-Stroud.

"Time after time, it is shown that cutting RN care is bad for patients' health, but that is exactly what hospitals in this province continue to do. Ontarians cannot remain silent as their health-care services disappear – speak out about stopping these cuts to your MPP or the Health Minister now."

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 hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Ruth Featherstone, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267; ruthf@ona.org

RELATED LINKS
http://www.ona.org

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