TORONTO, April 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Yet another consecutive year of hospital funding freezes means that registered nurses will be cut, leaving hospital patients in Ontario at an increased risk of complications and even death, says Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA).
Ontario registered nurses, members of ONA, have seen their ranks cut by more than 400 – the equivalent of close to 800,000 hours of quality RN care in 2015 alone, as hospitals anticipated this fourth year of funding freezes contained in the budget. Funding has been either frozen or below the rate of inflation since 2009.
"As registered nurses, we know that our patients are needlessly suffering because hospitals must balance their budgets without the necessary funding," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Funding community care is needed; however, we still have very ill patients in hospitals that require RN care."
ONA has continued to call on the government to fully fund the key services that patients must be able to access from our public hospitals. "The practice of sending patients home quicker and sicker is harming patients and is simply unnecessary," she said. "Home care funding has not kept up with the demand, and patients are being left without the safe, quality care they deserve."
Haslam-Stroud adds that the funding freeze, combined with inflation and a new funding formula that has cut funding for many Ontario communities has not reflected the complexities of our patients requiring hospital care," said Haslam-Stroud. "Cuts leave our patients in the cold when what they need is hospital-based acute RN care that is not and cannot be provided in the community."
In addition, Haslam-Stroud says the government is ignoring the evidence that shows the folly of inadequately funded hospitals cutting RNs. "Research has shown that cutting RN care leaves patients suffering higher rates of bedsores, ulcers, cardiac arrest, pneumonia, sepsis and blood clots."
In its pre-budget submission, ONA made recommendations to ensure Ontarians have access to safe, quality patient care, noting that the province continues to have fewer RNs than every province but one. Our patients deserve better, says Haslam-Stroud.
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
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, firstname.lastname@example.org; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; email@example.com