Independent Review of Patient Safety, RN Staffing Levels Begins Following Concerns from Acute Medicine RNs at Southlake Regional

September 27, 2021

NEWMARKET, ON., September 27, 2021: Registered Nurses (RNs) have called in an Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) to review patient safety and RN staffing levels at Southlake Regional Health Centre’s Medical Assessment Consultation Unit (MACU). The RNs at Southlake Regional Health Centre are extremely concerned about the care these acutely ill, medically unstable patients are receiving.

“Our highly educated and skilled RNs have consistently provided written documentation to this employer, outlining the impact of inadequate RN staffing levels on their ability to provide safe, quality care for their patients,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Southlake has failed to adequately address these issues and the RNs remain concerned, not only for the safety of their patients, but also about their ability to meet their professional standards due to insufficient RN staffing levels.”

A panel of three nursing experts will hear evidence from MACU RNs on the negative impact that inadequate RN staffing levels are having on patient care. The hearing begins today and “is about ensuring the patients in MACU receive the quality of nursing care they need and deserve, especially in these precarious times,” says McKenna. “These patients have acute, complex care needs. Coupled with too few RNs to care for them, we believe there is an unhealthy work environment. These issues have been escalating for more than two years, without adequate solutions or regard for the nurses and staff, and especially for patients and their families.”

Nursing is a highly regulated profession and RNs must be able to meet the standards set for them by their regulatory college. “Anything less risks patient safety and the RNs’ license to practice,” she says. An IAC is comprised of three RN experts who examine the professional responsibility and assess workload issues. A hearing is called as a last resort – when nurses and management have been unable to resolve the workload concerns internally. The panel will determine whether nurses are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of proper patient care; it will then make recommendations.

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.

For more information: 

Sheree Bond (416) 986-8240 (cell)