Peterborough RNs Call in Independent Committee to Hear Care Concerns re. Hospital's Haemodialysis Unit:

Independent Assessment Committee Will Make Recommendations

PETERBOROUGH,ON, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - A three-day hearing of an Independent Assessment Committee has wrapped up in Peterborough and now registered nurses at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) will await its recommendations.

The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members called for the hearing when their concerns about declining patient care in the haemodialysis unit went unaddressed by PRHC management.

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, was in Peterborough for the hearing and notes that RNs and ONA believe a change to the staffing model implemented 18 months ago have resulted in risks to patients.

"Decisions made on staffing were based strictly on finances," notes Haslam-Stroud. "The RNs in this unit are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of safe, quality, ethical patient care. Haemodialysis patients are at risk of suffering higher morbidity (complications) and mortality (death) rates due to a staffing model that is in no way based on quality nursing indicators."

An Independent Assessment Committee is a panel of three experts who hear both the hospital and the nurses make their cases regarding staffing levels and the skills mix - the number of registered nurses and registered practical nurses - working in the unit. The panel then discusses the case and returns with a report and recommendations for resolution.

There are 31 RNs working in the haemodialysis unit at PRHC. The panel heard evidence of a toxic work environment and high turnover of staff due to the clinical environment. ONA is hopeful that the recommendations the IAC returns with will help RNs in their quest to provide the quality of care these vulnerable patients deserve.

ONA is the union representing 57,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario communities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, industry and clinics.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

For more information:  Ontario Nurses' Association

Sheree Bond     (416) 986-8240


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