Ontario Sacrificing Nurses’ Health in Quest for Balanced Budgets: Research shows understaffing is causing more work-related injuries, illness
TORONTO, May 10, 2013 /CNW/ – In the quest to cut costs and balance
hospital budgets, Ontario hospitals are sacrificing the health of
registered nurses, according to new research.
Registered nurses (RNs) are the most injured workers in Ontario, facing
more dangerous workplace conditions than even construction or
manufacturing workers. RNs filed more Workplace Safety and Insurance
Board claims in 2012 than all other hospital occupations, three times
more claims than made by construction trades workers and 12 times more
than all chemistry industry occupations.
“These statistics show exactly the effects of understaffing and
workloads that are far too heavy to be safe for nurses or consistent
with the provision of the quality patient care Ontarians need and
deserve,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Linda
Haslam-Stroud, RN. “As much as we love our profession, we sacrifice our
health each and every day.”
Ontario has the second-worst RN to population ratio in the country and
this leaves nurses – who perform a role that is both mentally and
physically demanding – even more at risk in this province.
The latest statistics show that the total number of WSIB claims filed by
hospital RNs in 2012 is more than the total number filed in 2012
by form work and demolition workers, roofing workers, and meat, fish
and chemical manufacturing workers combined.
Haslam-Stroud says that RNs are working short-staffed regularly in
Ontario’s health care system, including in hospitals, community care,
public health and long-term care.
“A decade ago, the SARS Commission pointed out that that there is a
profound lack of awareness in the health system of worker safety, best
practices and principles,” she says. “This research shows that the
health of front-line nurses is being sacrificed on a systematic basis
because of overwork and understaffing.”
Further, “this is Nursing Week 2013, and RNs are now facing more
position cuts because hospital budgets have been flatlined again,” says
“Enough is enough. ONA calls on the government to commit to a plan to
create and fill 15,500 RN positions across the health care sector and
bring RN levels up to the Canadian average, and demonstrate its
commitment to quality care and nurses’ health and safety.”
The full research paper can be found on ONA’s website (www.ona.org).
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses, nurse
practitioners, registered practical nurses and allied health
professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates
providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public
health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses’ Association