Independent Nursing Panel Issues 101 Recommendations to Improve Nurse Staffing, Patient Safety at Brant Community Healthcare System’s Emergency Department

May 14, 2024

BRANTFORD, ON., May 14, 2024 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is extremely pleased with the recommendations made by an independent panel of nursing experts following the Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) hearing held regarding the safety and quality of care at the Brant Community Healthcare System’s (BCHS) Emergency Department.

“As registered nurses (RNs), nothing is more important than the safety of our patients,” says ONA Provincial President Erin Ariss, RN. “In March of 2024, ONA took BCHS to an IAC as the RNs had reached an impasse with the employer on RN staffing levels in the emergency department, levels of support staffing as well as supports for the staff and department to allow the RNs to provide safe, quality patient care within the Emergency Department.”

“Together, our RNs, supported by ONA, and leadership at BCHS had agreed on 32 items of concern to be acted upon prior to the IAC, but many issues remained yet to be addressed by BCHS to improve patient care,” notes Ariss. “Their patients deserve better. The panel agreed and has made 101 additional recommendations, including increasing RN staffing and staffing supports, amending its professional skill mixes, improving departmental processes, improving health and safety for both staff and patients, and improving the work environment with a focus on staff well-being and morale. The IAC took our concerns seriously and has supported our RNs and most importantly, patient care.”

An Independent Assessment Committee is a committee of three independent RN experts who review data and concerns brought forward by the RNs and make recommendations to the organization to achieve safe, quality patient care. Calling in an IAC is the last resort for nurses and is only done when their attempts to resolve issues with their employer directly fails after multiple attempts.

“Our RNs are an amazing group of highly educated professionals who are deeply committed to providing the best patient care possible,” says Ariss. “ONA would like to thank them for bringing forward their concerns about this unsafe environment for their patients and concerns about their ability to meet their professional responsibilities. We look forward to working together with BCHS leadership to bring the standards of the emergency department up to the mission and values of the organization and to the College of Nurses of Ontario in support of the delivery of safe and ethical nursing care to the people of Brant County.

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.


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