Expert Nursing Panel to Examine Emergency Department Understaffing and Violence at Southlake Regional Health Centre

September 26, 2017

NEWMARKET – Registered Nurses (RNs) at Southlake Regional Health Centre say that RN understaffing in the hospital’s Emergency Department has been so serious that patient care and safety have been compromised. Tomorrow, an expert nursing panel will begin a three-day examination of RN staffing, workplace violence and professional practice concerns in Southlake’s Emergency Department.

“Southlake Regional is the third-busiest Emergency Department in the province,” notes Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Patient volumes have reached levels that exceed the hospital’s capacity – forcing Registered Nurses to care for patients in hallways and other spaces.”

She notes that of the 111,347 Emergency Department patients seen in 2016/17, almost 70,000 required treatment for complex illnesses and injuries, making the need for highly trained and specialty skilled Registered Nurses imperative. “Nurses know that high-quality, safe care is being compromised, and the lack of RN staffing has put patient safety at risk.”

McKenna says that Southlake Emergency Department Registered Nurses have documented professional practice issues that identify the lack of care for their patients and support the case for increased RN staffing. The panel will hear from both ONA and hospital representatives.

“This examination is the last resort for ONA members,” said McKenna. “ONA has tried to work with management for more than a year to resolve patient care and workplace violence issues, to no avail. Now, the nursing experts will hear the on-the-ground realities of patient care and make recommendations.

“Safe, quality patient care is always the number-one priority for our RNs,” says McKenna. “We cannot stand by silently as patients suffer. Our patients are simply too important.”

ONA is the union representing 64,000 Registered Nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 16,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

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For more information: Ontario Nurses’ Association
Sheree Bond (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240;
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369;