Violent Incident at Elliot Lake Hospital Spotlights Need for Safety Measures to Keep Health-Care Workers Safe, says ONA

October 20, 2020

ELLIOT LAKE, October 20, 2020 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is calling on St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Elliot Lake – and all provincial health-care leaders – to take immediate action to keep health-care workers and their patients safe from violence.

“A serious incident in the emergency room of St. Joseph’s General Hospital has again demonstrated just how unprepared this and many employers are for workplace violence,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “It is unacceptable that a patient was able to do extensive damage in the hospital while registered nurses and health-care professionals – and their patients – were unprotected. From what we understand, the issues that are being investigated include whether there were any security personnel on site, whether the code white called by registered nurses and staff could be heard by everyone, and how sufficiently trained staff were on the proper use of panic buttons.”

ONA says that workplace violence in health care is an ongoing and very serious concern. “The pandemic has raised the level of stress and tension for health-care staff and patients alike,” says McKenna. “The last thing our skilled and dedicated front-line nurses and health-care professionals need to worry about is violence.”

She adds that in so many cases of violence, police deliver patients in an ER and leave them to be cared for by registered nurses. Too often, there is a lack of security, staff, training and policies and procedures for unpredictable patients. This serves to put staff and their patients at risk. McKenna says there must be government action to ensure this does not continue.

On Friday, Southlake Regional Health Centre was fined for failing to keep its staff safe; McKenna says there will not be a reduction in the number of violent incidents until workplace safety is taken seriously and measures put in place by every employer across the province.

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.


For more information:

Katherine Russo 647-539-1925