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Letter: Nurses’ jobs crucial

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Apr 08, 2014 - 12:57 PM |
As a registered nurse working at Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord, I am writing to ask the community to support the call for Ontario to hire more nurses now.

Hospitals across the province have been cutting RN positions to balance their budgets, with a profound impact on patient care.

Hospital funding has been flatlined for four years, failing to keep pace inflation, and the result is understaffed health care facilities that cut corners and leave patients vulnerable.

The cuts have put my patients’ health outcomes at risk, has increased wait times and cost the system more money over the long term because of unnecessary patient readmissions. Don’t just take my word for it.

There is proof of the impact of RN cuts and understaffing. A comprehensive European survey looking at more than 400,000 patients and recently published in The Lancet, a respected medical journal, showed that the staff complement of registered nurses impacts how many surgical patients lived or died post-surgery.

A 10 per cent increase in the number of RN staff working resulted in a seven per cent drop in the number of patient deaths within one month of admission to hospital.

In Ontario, every time an RN job is cut, patients lose the equivalent of 1,950 hours of nursing care per year.

That care will be added to another nurse’s workload, increasing the risk of patient complications and death by seven per cent.

In Ontario, we have lost 1.5 million hours of RN care per year since 2012, and this province already had the second-fewest number of RNs per capita in all of Canada.

We need more nurses now. Please support nurses as we call on the government and our hospital administrators to hire and retain more registered nurses, because your health care is at stake.

Speak out now. Visit www.morenurses.ca and send an e-mail to your MPP. Our health is too important not to take action.

Lexine Smith
Greater Sudbury

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