Fri Oct 28

Media Release

Ottawa Hospital cuts 300,000 hours of nursing care: Ontario Nurses’ Association concerned for patients

February 26, 2010

OTTAWA—Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN is expressing deep concerns about the quality of patient care at The Ottawa Hospital following word that the facility is cutting approximately 300,000 hours of RN care per year.

The hospital has informed ONA that it is both laying off registered nurses and deleting registered nursing positions. Notice was provided of 70 RN position cuts this week and another 120 RN position deletions, totalling about 300,000 hours per year of RN care lost to our patients. Some of the RNs cut have provided more than 20 years of knowledge, experience and critical thinking to their patients at The Ottawa Hospital.

“These cuts will have significant effects on the care we provide,” says Haslam-Stroud. “The cuts will impact care for a large number of patients, including surgical, outpatient, geriatric, hemodialysis, renal transplant, nephrology, medicine, oncology, rehabilitation, mother/baby, gynecology-oncology, chemotherapy and ophthalmology patients. We’ll see rates of morbidity and mortality rise as patients lose the expertise and skills that RNs bring – studies have shown a seven per cent rise in patient complications and death as extra patients are added to an average RN’s workload. It’s tragic that the hospital is putting patients at risk to balance the budget on the backs of nurses and patient care.”

ONA Local Bargaining Unit President Frances Smith has met with hospital CEO and President Jack Kitts to identify the serious impact the cuts will have.

The Ottawa Hospital will replace some of the RN positions with less-skilled workers. Patients who are ill enough to be in hospital are more complex and have unpredictable outcomes and require the wide scope of practice that registered nurses bring.

Haslam-Stroud says that ONA is currently trying to contact the individual RNs impacted by the cuts, but is urging patients and the community to speak out now to protest the cuts.

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.

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For more information:  Ontario Nurses’ Association
Sheree Bond (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430   cell: (416) 986-8240



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