Newmarket Hospital, Ont. cut 95 RN positions due to financial difficulties

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A hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. says she plans to cut 95 RN positions due to financial issues – a move the Nurses Association of Ontario calls “completely irresponsible” amid COVID-19 and the upcoming season flu.Kathryn Perrier, head of corporate communications at Southlake Regional Health Center, said in an email Tuesday that the hospital plans to add 49 licensed practical nurse positions and 29 of what it calls service partner positions. to patients. In addition, the hospital plans to add three social worker positions.

“Like some other hospitals in the province, Southlake is currently facing a significant financial challenge and has announced a series of changes to address this while maintaining the same high quality care we provide to the communities we serve.” , said Perrier.

“With the number of current and potential future clinical vacancies, we hope to avoid any unintentional frontline job loss in Southlake. ”

The layoffs will mean an “updated model of care” in the hospital’s inpatient units, she said.

Southlake said she would follow the collective agreements she negotiated with her unions,

“Based on these agreements, some clinical staff may move to another area of ​​the hospital. In these cases, appropriate skills development and support will be provided, ”she said.

Perrier said the hospital plans to hire more frontline unionized clinical staff and cut 34 management and administrative positions. The cuts are on top of 15 layoffs last year.

“Southlake faces a substantial deficit that is unrelated to COVID-19 and predates the pandemic,” she added.

The hospital is undertaking an independent, third-party external review with assistance from the Central Ontario Health Region.

“The goal is to review our funding position, our actions to date, and gain an understanding of Southlake’s funding needs for 2020/21 and beyond,” she said.

Layoffs will directly affect patient care, union says

Vicki McKenna, president of the Nurses Association of Ontario, said in a press release Tuesday that the layoffs will devastate Newmarket and directly affect patient care.

“I can’t understand how Southlake Regional Health Center CEO Arden Krystal can justify cutting frontline RNs during a global pandemic,” McKenna said.

“With the second wave of COVID-19 and the coming flu season, which will put undue pressure on all hospitals, reducing the number of registered nurses is completely irresponsible.

McKenna said layoffs are expected to affect busy acute care units and noted that the hospital is located in the Newmarket-Aurora riding of Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott .

“The hospital cites its budget as the reason for the cuts and if so, the government must immediately step in and audit and prevent these layoffs,” she said.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, Southlake this year received a funding increase of more than $ 5 million to expand frontline services in York Region.

“Hospitals are in charge of their own operations and operational decision making. That said, when making planning decisions, we expect all hospitals to minimize the impacts on primary care, ”the ministry said in an email on Tuesday.

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