TORONTO, June 3, 2013 /CNW/ - New figures on rates of absenteeism and
overtime worked by nurses throughout Canada clearly illustrate the need
for all health care systems to place more emphasis on safe staffing
levels at hospitals and other care facilities, says Canadian Federation
of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas.
The statistics, compiled for CFNU from Canada's Labour Force Survey by
Informetrica Ltd., show that in 2012 Registered Nurses and nurse
supervisors working in the health care and social assistance sector
worked well over 21.5 million hours of overtime.
"Nurses know from the front lines that the situation is even worse than
indicated by these statistics," Silas said.
Silas will be attending the CFNU's Biennial Convention, which begins
tomorrow with two days of workshops at Toronto's Westin Harbour Castle
Hotel, followed by two days of business meetings ending on Friday, June
7. Silas will be available for media interviews to discuss the overtime
and absenteeism statistics.
The Informetrica statistics show that each week in 2012 an average of
18,900 of Canada's 251,500 Registered Nurses and nurse supervisors in
the sector were absent from work due to own illness or disability.
"These levels of overtime and absenteeism clearly indicate that nursing
workloads have reached a point that is not safe or acceptable," Silas
said, noting that the connection between heavy nursing workloads and
declining patient care and safety has been exhaustively researched and
is well understood.
"Safe staffing should be the guiding principle in patient safety in
Canada, and it makes sense to view all decisions about staffing as
investments in patient care and our health care system," Silas said.
"More than any other factor, safe levels of nursing staff are the key to
an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable health care system that
meets the needs of patients, their families and all Canadians," Silas
The hours of overtime shown by Informetrica's research to have been
worked by nurses in 2012 are equivalent to 11,900 full-time equivalent
jobs, Silas noted.
The survey results also showed nearly a third of Canada's nurses worked
overtime each week, with the average total overtime worked at 6.6 hours
per week - both figures essentially unchanged since 2010.
Total cost of paid overtime in 2012 was estimated at $746.5 million, up
from $660.3 million in 2010.
But many nurses work overtime without being paid, Silas observed, and
the figures compiled by Informetrica indicate the value of this unpaid
work exceeded $200 million.
The provinces with the highest number of nurses working overtime were
Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Infometrica estimated the annual cost of absenteeism was $734.3 million
in 2012 - an increase from $711 million in 2010, although the number of
nurses reporting absence due to own illness or disability had declined.
However, this does not account for savings that could be realized
through better quality, properly staffed care.
Provinces with the highest absenteeism rates in 2012 were New Brunswick
and Manitoba, both at about 10 per cent, and those with the lowest
rates were Saskatchewan (5.5 per cent) and Quebec (6.7 per cent).
See the information included with this news release for additional
statistics and background on the methodology used by Informetrica.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
For further information:
Anil Naidoo, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, 613-986-5409, email@example.com
David Climenhaga, United Nurses of Alberta, 780-717-2943, firstname.lastname@example.org