Begins: 15 September 2022 @ 11:00 AM
Location: Peterborough, ON
PETERBOROUGH, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– With Ontario hospital staff turnover rates doubling and paramedics struggling due to rapid increase in call volumes, Peterborough hospital staff and area paramedics are warning that the depth of the hospital staffing crisis will worsen and that patient access to care is in peril under the provincial government’s current course.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will hold a media conference on Thursday, September 15, 2022, at 11 a.m. at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (in front of the emergency department/ambulance bays) to release Peterborough specific data on how many nurses, paramedical, clerical and support staff would need to be hired this year by the hospital, just to maintain existing patient care and service levels.
Hospital ER closures and staffing shortages will “only intensify” under the current health human resource strategy of the PC provincial government, says Dave Verch, a registered practical nurse (RPN) and first vice-president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE).
Officially the hospital staff turnover rate in Ontario is 14.95%. “This is an unsustainable level of loss of experienced health care workers,” says Verch. “None of this is normal nor is it acceptable. With an ageing and growing population here in Peterborough, the province is on a course to cause untold suffering for patients and front-line hospital staff.”
The hospital staffing crisis is contributing to ambulance unavailability, as offload delays for paramedics prevents timely response to 911 calls. The problem is compounded by understaffing of paramedic services relative to demand. In Peterborough County, call volumes increased by 12.8 per cent in 2021, doubling the annual average of 6.3 per cent.
“The Ontario provincial government must immediately invest in improving staffing levels and working conditions at hospitals and paramedic services. We are seeing an exponential increase in demand for paramedicine, without a corresponding increase in the resources we need. The heavier workloads are causing high rates of injuries and burnout, exacerbating the staffing crisis. The present situation is unsustainable – we need action right now,” says Natalie Waters, an active paramedic and president of CUPE 4911, the union that represents Peterborough County paramedics.
In Ontario, CUPE represents 50,000 front-line hospital staff including RPNs, personal support workers, cleaners, porters, and administrative and other workers and more than 6000 paramedics and dispatchers.