Windsor hospital said to be in chaos as nursing cuts loom

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Registered nurses (RNs) at Windsor Regional Hospital say the hospital is in chaos as the June 15 date for cutting 169 RN positions – and the likelihood of more RN cuts – looms.

Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) members say that nursing schedules are being posted late and with gaps in schedules where base staffing needs are not being met.

“This is a serious situation,” says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. “RNs are working excessive amounts of overtime, and the hospital has resorted to bringing back retired registered nurses to backfill empty positions. In some cases, the employer is trying to quietly cut more hours of patient care by deleting more positions by ‘stealth.’ For our patients, this is completely unacceptable.”

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Vicki McKenna, ONA First Vice-President holding the portfolio for Professional Practice, says RN staff in the emergency department received an email from management earlier in the week.

CEO David Musyj is quoted in the Windsor Star as saying that, “There is nothing planned for us right now since we are still working through the state of funding for this year. But we have to look forward and do appropriate planning.” However, after the facts were exposed by the media, the employer has now informed ONA that it is cutting more RNs.

“The nurses were told the hospital budget is in a large deficit due to the provincial funding formula and another three per cent has to be cut this year,” said McKenna. “Day shift staffing in the ER is going to be cut from 12 to 11 RNs, with further cuts possible, negatively impacting the care hours to our vulnerable patients.”

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McKenna notes that RNs are already overstretched, with patient assignments that are too heavy to enable them to provide quality care.

Windsor Regional Hospital has yet to complete the layoff process for the 169 RNs they announced would be cut last January; the 104 full-time equivalent practical nurses the hospital said it would hire are not yet all in place. Haslam-Stroud said the hospital is rapidly becoming more dangerous for the patients who require quality patient care and encourages residents of Windsor to call their local MPP, Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Premier Kathleen Wynne to demand better care now.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry. -CNW

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