Registered nurse staffing cuts threaten patient care: RN positions cut in Toronto



    TORONTO, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Registered nursing hours are being reduced in
Ontario's largest city - Toronto - threatening patient care.
    "There's more bad news for patients," says Ontario Nurses' Association
(ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Humber River Regional Hospital in
Toronto has reduced, by 10 the number of registered nurses working in its busy
emergency department. St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto has eliminated
12 full-time and nine part-time RN positions, further eroding quality patient
care."
    ONA believes these hospitals are attempting to balance their budgets on
the backs of RNs. The nurses affected by the positions cut at St. Michael's
have been moved to other units.
    "While all of Ontario continues to cope with a nursing shortage, it is
completely unacceptable to be eliminating any registered nursing positions,
leaving fewer RNs to cope with heavy patient volumes. This certainly is going
to have a negative impact on patients and could put them at risk," says
Haslam-Stroud. "Hospitals need to start speaking up for quality care and the
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care needs to ensure that hospitals aren't
cutting RN positions."
    The registered nursing cuts are just the latest in a series across the
province. In Toronto, RN positions have recently been cut at Rouge Valley
Health System and Toronto East General Hospital.
    Research has shown a direct link between positive patient outcomes and
the number of RNs on staff to provide care. As RNs are reduced, patient
complications and death rates rise.
    "During the nursing shortage, RNs certainly don't need to hear that jobs
are being eliminated. It should be a top priority to attract young people to
enter the profession and to retain late-career nurses as long as possible.
Hearing that jobs are being eliminated will accomplish neither of these
goals."

    ONA is the union representing 54,000 registered nurses and allied health
professionals working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health,
the community, clinics and industry.
    ONA is celebrating 35 years of nursing advocacy - a proud past, a
powerful future.





For further information:

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Melanie Levenson,
(416) 964-8833, ext. 2369, Cellular: (416) 801-8958; Ruth Featherstone, (416)
964-8833, ext. 2267


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