Ontario Nurses’ Association Demanding Answers as The Ottawa Hospital Allows Private Surgeries to be Performed Under a Veil of Secrecy - Nurses say patients are unsafe

February 25, 2023

OTTAWA, ON., February 25, 2023 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is deeply alarmed by reports of private orthopedic surgeries now being performed under a veil of secrecy on weekends at the Riverside campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

ONA is demanding answers to a number of serious concerns about patient safety, poaching of public-sector nurses and other staff from The Ottawa Hospital and which – if any – standard regulations are being followed.

Every patient under anesthesia is potentially unstable. Patients would be wise to ask questions about what supports are available.

Riverside is a taxpayer-funded facility where day surgery is performed five days per week, with a full staff complement available to provide care and support to surgical patients. The facility is closed on the weekends.

ONA says The Ottawa Hospital currently has at least 515 RN vacancies. The surgeons performing these private hip and knee surgeries are approaching RNs at work to ask them to assist with these surgeries on weekends. ONA has concerns about liability issues for The Ottawa Hospital and the staff who assist with the surgeries out of the public system. There are also concerns about private surgeons using taxpayer-funded utilities.

ONA is calling for immediate transparency from The Ottawa Hospital and Premier Doug Ford. Nurses and the public deserve to know details of this practice and where and how their tax dollars are being spent.

ONA is the union representing 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, public health, home and community care and industry.