Unions Picket To Highlight Collapse of Staff Morale at PHRC

PETERBOROUGH, ON, Sept. 6, 2011 /CNW/ - Peterborough Regional Health Centre staff represented by the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) picketed the constituency office of MPP Jeff Leal this afternoon. Peterborough Regional Health Centre has experienced deep cuts to its staffing complement, with the elimination of more than 200 positions. As a result, waits for services have lengthened, staff workloads are staggering and morale has collapsed.

"Many areas in the hospital have schedules that come out with "holes" in the schedule meaning the staff on that shift are going to be short. This has created poor morale as the nurses know they are coming in with not enough RN's to care for the patients in their unit. This in turn jeopardizes patient care and safety and makes the nurses feel that they are undervalued. Having nursed for 25 years this is the worst that I have seen staff morale," said ONA local president, Cheryl Osborne.

"Before the restructuring, staff had a sense of ownership and developed strong relationships with patients as they were assigned to one routine or area. Now there is a feeling of disengagement when routines and locations changes constantly. Nurses are under staffed and they struggle to provide the basic care to their patients in these situations. We are concerned that the cuts are affecting patient standards of care as staff morale plummets in the face of these challenges," Laurie Hatton CUPE local president.

"Because of chronic understaffing and poor staff morale and out of desperation we went to the Hospital Board Stewardship Committee asking for their help in recognizing the severity of the staffing levels at PRHC. Instead of helping us they redirected our concern to the Healthy Hospital Committee! We now question the ability of the Board to oversee the business of PRHC," said Linda Matteau, OPSEU local spokesperson.

The three unions are planning a number of activities through the election period to draw attention to the crisis at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information:

Cheryl Osborne, ONA: 705-741-7209

Laurie Hatton, CUPE : 705-933-6629

Liinda Matteau, OPSEU: 705-761-3473


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