Begins: 16 September 2022 @ 11:00 AM
Location: Oshawa, ON
OSHAWA, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– With Ontario hospital staff turnover rates doubling and paramedics struggling due to rapid increase in call volumes, Durham 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 16, 2022, at 11 a.m. at Lakeridge Hospital Oshawa (in front of the emergency department/ambulance bays) to release Durham-specific data on how many nurses, paramedical, clerical and support staff would need to be hired this year by hospitals in the area, 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 aging and growing population here in Durham, 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.
“The Ontario provincial government must immediately invest in improving staffing levels and working conditions at hospitals and paramedic services. We are observing growing number of Code Zeros and critical ambulance shortages, because we don’t have enough paramedics to respond to 911 calls. It is causing a lot of stress for paramedics, with high injury and burnout rates that only magnify the staffing shortage. The government must act now to stabilize the health care system,” says Stephanie Taylor, president of CUPE 1764, the union that represents Durham Region 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.