NORTH BAY, ON, Sept. 21, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says that job cuts and bed closures at North Bay Regional Health Centre have "turned a slow bleed into the ex-sanguination of patient care" and is decrying misinformation released by hospital management.
"Since this hospital opened, we have seen 40 beds closed and close to 150,000 hours of RN care per year cut," said Haslam-Stroud. "Yet more drastic RN cuts and services cuts are looming for the people of North Bay, and this latest round of job cuts includes a range of hospital staff whose services enable RNs to provide patient care more efficiently."
Haslam-Stroud says that the loss of care "is absolutely shocking. Contrary to comments from the hospital CEO, patient care will certainly not improve, and if the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care does not provide severance funding to North Bay Regional, the number of job cuts just announced will increase by another 35 to 40 per cent."
A new hospital funding formula and a four-year hospital funding freeze have hit hospitals hard, and ONA believes that North Bay Regional Health Centre is experiencing far greater and more drastic cuts than others in the province because of the P3 scheme used to finance and build the new facility.
"As the auditor-general found, this misguided P3 scheme the province has used to build new hospitals and other facilities has cost taxpayers $8 billion more than if the government had financed the projects themselves," notes Haslam-Stroud. "North Bay Regional Health Centre cost more to build and now taxpayers are on the hook for decades, paying exorbitant maintenance costs to the private corporation that built it -- far higher than public hospitals are paying. That continues to take a big chunk out of the hospital's funding and these cuts are the result."
"Our patients suffer more bed sores, ulcers, pneumonia, sepsis, cardiac arrest and even death," she notes. "The people of North Bay should be absolutely outraged, both at the loss of quality patient care and at the loss of employment. The skilled, educating and very caring RNs are asking them to speak out loudly to protest these outrageous cuts to care."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association