Begins: 17 October 2022 @ 12:00 Noon
Location: Sudbury, ON
SUDBURY, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Already hobbled by unprecedented hospital staff turnover rates and a rapid increase in emergency medical services call volumes, hospital staff and Sudbury paramedics are warning that the coming flu season and rising COVID-19 infections will put new stresses on Health Sciences North (HSN).
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will hold a media conference on Monday, October 17, 2022, at 12 noon in front of HSN (corner of Ramsay Lake Road and Paris St.) to release Sudbury-specific data on how many nurses, paramedical, clerical and support staff would need to be hired immediately to cope with the influx of patients tied to both COVID and flu infection surges. This is in addition the hundreds more staff needed to just maintain existing patient care and service levels at HSN.
Hospital emergency room (ER) and other unit 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% more than doubling in the last few years.
“This is an unsustainable level of loss of experienced health care workers,” says Verch. “None of this is normal nor is it acceptable. With the uptick in COVID-19 infections this fall and the coming flu season the hospital staffing crisis will deepen. Lack of action by the province to retain and attract new hospital staff sets Ontario up for untold suffering – for patients and front-line hospital staff this fall. We are urging this government to take immediate action on hospital staffing.”
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. CUPE 4705, the union that represents Sudbury paramedics is calling on the Ontario government to implement a provincial staffing strategy.
“Staffing levels for Sudbury paramedics are not keeping pace with rising call volumes, creating intense workload pressures. The poor working conditions have caused a retention and recruitment crisis, as paramedics continue dropping out of the workforce with a short supply of candidates available for replacement. It’s high time that the Ontario government implement a staffing strategy to ensure paramedics can continue serving our community,” said Bryan Keith, president of CUPE 4705.
In Ontario, CUPE represents 50,000 front-line hospital staff including RPNs, personal support workers, cleaners, porters, paramedical and administrative and other workers and more than 6000 paramedics and dispatchers. CUPE represents about 150 paramedics working for the City of Greater Sudbury.