Pandemic ‘Heroes’ Pay the Price as Hospitals Cut Registered Nurses to Balance Budgets
September 11, 2020
Lakeridge Health the latest to announce RN layoffs
OSHAWA, Ont. (September 11, 2020) – Yet another Ontario hospital has issued lay-off notices to front-line registered nurses (RNs) – the very nurses hailed as heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lakeridge Health has informed the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) that it is cutting eight full-time and six part-time RNs from several of its units as it seeks to balance its budget. ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN, has expressed anger that employers are undertaking a round of RN cuts during a pandemic that is far from over.
“News of still more RN layoffs is incredibly disappointing and disheartening,” says McKenna. “This is the second time in the space of a week that a large Greater Toronto Area hospital is opting to put money over care. Lakeridge Health is cutting RNs who provide high quality care to patients in the acute medicine unit, surgical program and most alarmingly, the infectious disease clinic. It’s truly outrageous that this is the route that management is taking to balance the budget and the residents of Durham Region who rely on Lakeridge for their health-care needs should be very alarmed.”
McKenna says that Ontario has yet to take the lessons of research on RN staffing levels to heart. Multiple studies have shown that cutting RN care leads to patients suffering a seven-per-cent increase in morbidity (complications) and mortality (death).
“I am dumbfounded that in the midst of a pandemic, when Ontarians are out thanking front-line nurses for their incredible dedication, courage and skills, that Toronto Rehab and now, Lakeridge Health is cutting the very people who make a difference to their patients’ health outcomes and provide such good value. ONA is calling on this government to stop the RN cuts now and urging Ontarians to do the same. This is too important to everyone to stay silent.”
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.