Nurses Call in Independent Panel to Review Safety at Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s Family Birthing Unit

January 29, 2024

WINCHESTER, ON, January 29, 2024 – After repeatedly attempting to resolve serious safety and quality of care concerns in the Family Birthing Unit of Winchester District Memorial Hospital, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) has taken the rare step of calling in an independent panel of nursing experts to review working conditions and make recommendations.

“Our registered nurses (RNs) have been advocating for safe patient care by providing documentation to this employer since January 2021, to no avail,” says ONA President Erin Ariss, RN. “They have clearly outlined the impact of inadequate RN staffing on their ability to provide the safe, ethical, quality care that patients deserve, and that is required of them to meet professional practice standards.”

The hospital’s Family Birthing Unit patients require specialized and skilled nursing care. RN understaffing results in an unsafe work environment that adversely impacts care delivery, potentially putting patients at risk of serious harm.

ONA notes that the hospital is failing to collaborate with the RNs to address concerns, offers no solutions, and is refusing further meetings. The independent panel has been called in by the RNs as a last resort.

An Independent Assessment Committee hearing is a panel of three independent RN experts who assess and analyze the professional responsibility and workload issues raised by the RNs. ONA nurses will provide evidence to support their concerns. The panel will consider the evidence to determine whether RNs are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of safe, quality patient care and make recommendations.

The hearing will be held January 30, February 1 and 2 and is aimed at ensuring these patients receive the quality of specialized nursing care they need and deserve, close to home.

ONA is the union representing 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing students, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


To arrange an interview, contact:

ONA Media Relations[email protected]