MONCTON, NB, May 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Today the Canadian Federation of
Nurses Unions published a new report which calls for nurses, patients
and their families to safeguard our health care system and to reject
irresponsible workforce redesign. Valuing Patient Safety: Responsible
Workforce Design provides stark evidence of the effects of
ill-considered experiments in the delivery of patient care. Workforce
redesign refers to nursing care delivery, and changes to staff mix and
staffing levels are the two most common, outward signs. It is often
driven by executive administrative decisions, but even small changes
can cause a domino effect which directly impacts nursing care delivery
and patient care. Heavy workloads, excessive overtime and increases in
injuries and illness often result. The report points out that
inevitably as workloads rise, patients' quality of care declines.
The report highlights the National Health Service (NHS) England and the
2013 Francis Inquiry into unnecessary deaths, patient injuries and
gross neglect resulting from prioritizing budgets over quality patient
care. "As detailed in Valuing Patient Safety, the NHS England tragedy
is a dire warning to Canada on the risks of pursuing a similar path,"
says Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses
"As nurses, we must act to protect our patients and reverse the
dangerous trends in health care. It is up to us, as health care
professionals, to speak up for patients, and make our voices heard so
that everyone knows what is at stake," added Linda Silas.
Valuing Patient Safety argues that patients must be at the forefront of
any redesign decisions. This means patient priority care needs must be
properly assessed using real time tools, based on factors such as
acuity, stability and complexity. Once patient needs are determined,
nurses and their managers should base staffing assignments on the best
fit between patient needs and nurse competencies.
"Nurses must respond as a unified voice to those who want to define or
control our practice. As a discipline, we have specialized knowledge
and unique competencies," Says Marilyn Quinn, President of the New
Brunswick Nurses Union.
Dr. Maura MacPhee, the report's author and Associate Professor at UBC's
School of Nursing, noted: "It is vitally important that our health care
system become more open, transparent and accountable so that health
care providers, patients, their families, and the public have the
information they need to influence and engage proactively with decision
makers in our health care system."
Valuing Patient Safety is a wake-up call for health care decision
makers: its recommendations must be heeded in implementing any
workforce redesign in Canada.
Get the full report on CFNU's website at https://nursesunions.ca/sites/default/files/valuing_patient_safety_web_may_2014.pdf
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) represents close to
200,000 nurses and student nurses. Our members work in hospitals,
long-term care facilities, community health care, and our homes. The
CFNU speaks to all levels of government, other health care stakeholders
and the public about evidence-based policy options to improve patient
care, working conditions and our public health care system.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
For further information:
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, 613-526-4661
Linda Silas, President, 613-859-4314 (cell)