NSGEU President Joan Jessome today is calling on the Province and bureaucrats at Capital Health to end a new staffing practice that nurses say is jeopardizing patient care.
In a misguided effort to cut back on costs, Capital Health recently brought in a policy of not replacing nurses’ first sick call. This leads to nurses working short and, in turn, they are putting patient safety at risk.
A recent study in the Lancet medical journal shows that for every extra patient added to a nurses’ workload, the risk of patient death increases by seven per cent.
Just seven months ago, when Finance Minister Diana Whalen was in Opposition, she said: “…If you’re going to cut back and not replace people that are off sick then there’s a worry you’re not going to have the appropriate staffing on site for people who are ill,” in an interview with CBC.
“It’s time for them to act. Nurses have said enough is enough, this policy is putting patients at risk,” says Jessome.
This policy is just one more example of why we need mandated minimum nurse to patient ratios in place to ensure patient safety. Evidence shows that safe RN staffing levels, especially mandated ratios, keep patients healthier and cut overall health care costs by decreasing the length of hospital stay, as well as the number of post-discharge ER visits, patient falls, hospital-contracted infections and deaths.
Minister of Health Leo Glavine said it best himself during an interview with The Chronicle Herald in November: “Nobody should have to come to work and work in an environment where there’s no chance of getting a break whatsoever from the demands of the job because they are one nurse short.”
“We agree. Nurse to patient ratios are a proactive measure that will ensure our nurses can keep patients safe,” says Jessome, “We need to take action now, and ensure there are enough nurses at patients’ bedsides.”
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.
For more information or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer