Bluewater Nursing Cuts Will Hurt Patients: Ontario Nurses' Association Warns of Impact

SARNIA, ON, March 1, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is warning that Bluewater Health's plans to cut 15 registered nurses and not fill a number of currently vacant RN positions will negatively impact patient care.

"Bluewater COO Mike Lapaine has told this community that changes won't affect patient care," notes ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The fact is that removing nearly 30,000 hours of nursing care with the 15 RN positions alone, plus not backfilling vacant jobs - which, by the way, are currently being filled by part-time RNs - will affect patient care; there is simply no way around it. We've seen hundreds of RN jobs cut recently because of hospital budget pressures and research clearly shows that when remaining RNs have heavier workloads, patient outcomes decline."

Haslam-Stroud also notes that no management positions will be cut to balance the budget and that officials say they will focus on reducing overtime and sick time.

"You can't cut RNs and not fill vacant RN positions and expect to reduce overtime or sick time," says Haslam-Stroud. "Nursing is highly regulated and an RN would never leave their job undone and patient at risk because it is the end of their shift.

"The longer hours, the increase in pressure on RNs to do more with less will inevitably result in a negative impact on nurses' health too. Nurses are human and in their jobs, they are exposed to illness, injuries and even violence, making them among the sickest and most injured of all professionals," she says.

Haslam-Stroud says that hospital care may be changing, and more services moved into the community, but the fact remains that those ill enough to be hospitalized still require the invaluable skills, experience and knowledge that RNs bring.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

Ontario Nurses' Association

Sheree Bond    (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430/cell: (416) 986-8240,

Melanie Levenson   (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369,

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