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Media Release

St. Joseph's Hamilton Cuts 61 RNs, Putting Patients at Risk

February 02, 2016

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says the elimination of 61 front-line Registered Nurses (RNs) at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton will put patients at risk.
The hospital announced today that it is cutting 61 RN positions with widespread cuts in units that include: recovery room, neo-natal intensive care, operating room, nephrology (kidney program), cardiology, acute mental health, complex care, respirology, pre-surgery assessment, dialysis, day surgery, medicine, medical rehab and geriatric outreach. Of particular concern are the introduction of RPNs into the recovery room and neonatal intensive care, which are critical care areas requiring the advanced assessment and clinical skills of RNs for these unpredictable patients. ONA believes there is a place for RNs and RPNs in the health care system, however the gutting of RN positions and forcing RPNs to care for unpredictable, complex patients is putting their nursing licenses at risk.

"It's no secret that research has found that cutting RNs out of hospitals increases the rates of complications and death that our patients face," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, herself a renal transplant RN from St. Joe's. "For every extra patient added to an average RN's workload, the risk of death and disease increases by seven per cent. Patients experience more sepsis, pneumonia, blood clots, bedsores, cardiac events (heart attacks) and failure to rescue (save a patient’s life)," she said. "It's unacceptable that our hospitals are knowingly risking the health outcomes of our patients to balance budgets."

The cuts come on the heels of a series of violent attacks on nurses at St. Joseph's Healthcare, attacks that ONA has attributed to a faulty personal alarm system and a shortage of nurses.

They also follow announcements of massive RN cuts at Windsor Regional Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Northumberland Hills Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto and Quinte Health Care.

"Patient care continues to be compromised across Ontario due to the tunnel vision demonstrated by hospital CEOs and the province," said Haslam-Stroud. She says the Ontario government must stop RN cuts due to underfunding hospitals – “our patients deserve better.”

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 facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

For more information: Ontario Nurses’ Association

Sheree Bond (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240;
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369;

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