PRHC Deceiving Community About Cuts: Registered Nursing Cuts Far Deeper than
Hospital Admits

PETERBOROUGH, ON, July 30 /CNW/ - Cuts of registered nurses (RNs) at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) are far more extensive than the hospital has informed the community of and will have a serious impact on patient care.

"The people of Peterborough have been informed of 85 RN layoffs," says Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "But behind the scenes, the hospital has provided ONA with an extensive list of "eliminations" of RN positions that is devastating for our patients and the nurses who provide quality patient care."

In total, more than 116 full-time-equivalent registered nurses have been cut by PRHC, equal to the loss of more than 225,000 hours per year of RN care. Twenty bed cuts have also been announced.

"PRHC's communications about the cuts has been an exercise in smoke and mirrors," says Haslam-Stroud. "While they have admitted to 85 RN layoffs, there's been silence about cuts to a further 36 full- and part-time RN positions. The hospital has also overstated management cuts - announcing 20 management position "layoffs" - while in reality, these 20 were not all management and many were already vacant.

"The people of Peterborough deserve the truth about what is happening to their health care," says Haslam-Stroud. "Yesterday's announcement of incentive funding to reduce ER wait times was meant to distract the community. This is not new funds but rather a repeat of an announcement made many months ago. Our patients are still in hallway beds and are being transferred to units without appropriate staffing to care for their needs."

RNs at PRHC are already experiencing serious workload issues that have them concerned about their patients' safety. The nurses know that patients - especially in the dialysis unit - are already at increased risk of suffering adverse health outcomes because of the inadequate number of RNs caring for them. RN positions now being cut in this and other units will make the risk to patients rise further.

"I urge the people of Peterborough to speak out about the draconian cuts to their health care," says Haslam-Stroud. "Between the nursing cuts, the cuts to housekeeping that are occurring just as hospital-acquired infections become more serious, and the bed closures at PRHC, their access to safe, quality health care in a timely manner is being eroded daily."

ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240; Ruth Featherstone, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267

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