Begins: 1 November 2022 @ 11:00 AM
Location: Kingston, ON
KINGSTON, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Area paramedics and hospital staff are warning that the coming flu season patient surge and rising COVID-19 infections this fall and winter will put new stresses on Kingston Health Science Centre (KHSC) already challenged by a staffing crisis.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and OPSEU will hold a media conference on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 11 a.m. in front of the KHSC emergency department ramp on King St. The will release Kingston-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 to the hundreds more staff needed to just maintain existing patient care and service levels at KHSC.
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, which is failing patients and hospital staff miserably,” 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.
The hospital staffing crisis is contributing to ambulance unavailability, as offload delays for paramedics prevents timely response to 911 calls.
In 2021, paramedics responded to over 26,500 emergency medical calls in Kingston and Frontenac County. From January to June 2022, there was an 11.89% increase in calls compared to the same period in 2021. “Actual call volumes have far exceeded projected growth of 4.5% per year but staffing levels have not kept up with this increased demand for paramedic services,” says Shauna Dunn president of OPSEU 462 which represents area paramedics.
CUPE represents over 3000 front-line KHSC staff.