Collingwood Hospital Registered Nurses Call for an Independent Review of Patient Safety

March 21, 2023

COLLINGWOOD, ON., March 21, 2023 – After repeatedly raising serious concerns about patient safety and Registered Nurse (RN) staffing levels, RNs at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital are proceeding with an Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) to investigate issues in the hospital’s emergency department.

“Our RNs are alarmed by safety concerns for their acutely ill and unstable patients as access to safe and timely care is delayed due to ongoing and unsafe RN staffing levels,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) Interim Provincial President Bernie Robinson, RN. “Patients need timely access to care, and this hospital has repeatedly failed to ensure the required RN resources are there to support them and their patients and ensure they receive the best care possible.”

Robinson says RNs have consistently provided written documentation to this employer outlining the effect of inadequate RN staffing levels and the negative impact on their ability to provide safe, quality nursing care to this complex and vulnerable population. These patients are more likely to require specialized nursing care, and RN understaffing results in an unsafe work environment that adversely influences care delivery. This can result in situations that may place patients at risk of serious harm.

“Nurses have been raising their concerns for more than two years, with no adequate employer solutions or actions for the nurses and staff, or for patients and their families,” says Robinson. “This hospital has failed to substantively address the concerns and both patient health and the ability of RNs to meet their professional standards are on the line. Nursing is a highly regulated profession; RNs must be able to meet the standards set by their regulatory college. Anything less risks an RNs’ license to practice.”

The hearing begins March 21 and runs through March 24. An IAC is a panel of three independent RN experts who assess and analyze the professional responsibility and workload issues raised by the RNs. The ONA nurses will provide evidence on the negative impacts of inadequate RN staffing levels on patient care. The panel will assess the evidence, determine whether nurses are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of proper quality patient care, and make recommendations to address them. Proceeding with an IAC is the most serious step ONA can take and is done as a last resort when employers have repeatedly failed to adequately address the concerns of the nursing staff.

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, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


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