BELLEVILLE, ON, March 4, 2015 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is warning residents that dozens of registered nurse (RN) cuts at Quinte Health Care will result in less safe patient care.
"Quinte Health Care is taking 88,000 hours of RN care per year out of the hospital system, and patients are the ones who will be falling through the cracks," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "You will hear that services will not be affected, but you cannot cut the 88,000 hours of RN care from the community and expect that patients won't be affected, no matter the platitudes that emerge from hospital leaders."
Quinte Health Care is cutting RN care from its medicine units at the Trenton, Belleville, Bancroft and Picton sites. Cuts are coming in the intensive care unit, where the most vulnerable and complex patients receive care, the operating rooms, emergency department, rehab, medical day care, diagnostic imaging, and post-anesthesia same-day surgery units. In fact, almost every service will be losing RN care hours. While claiming that some of these jobs were vacant, Haslam-Stroud says that while there may not have been a permanent RN working in the position, the positions were filled by RNs and that care is also being cut.
"Study after study has shown what a false economy cutting RNs turns out to be, not to mention bad for patient health outcomes," said Haslam-Stroud. "Every extra patient added to an average nurses' workload means a seven-per-cent increase in the risk of patients suffering from complications and even death. Conversely, studies show that adding more RN care leads to better health outcomes for patients, and a reduction in readmissions to hospital."
Ontario has the second-worst ratio of RNs per population in the country. Yet this province has continued to cut RN care to balance hospital budgets, with patient care falling through the cracks. Haslam-Stroud urges the people of the Quinte region to speak up against RN cuts to their LHIN, MPPs, the Minister of Health and the Premier.
"We're all going to need the skills and care that RNs provide someday," she said, "and patients deserve the best, safest care possible."
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, the community, public health, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association