More hospital beds a start, increased RN staffing is next step

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The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says that the provincial announcement of new hospital beds is a good first step in addressing over-capacity hospitals, but successfully easing the congestion on a permanent basis requires more registered nurses and healthcare professionals at the bedside.

“ONA has been out front, raising the alarms about our overcrowded hospital crisis for many, many months,” says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. “Those of us on the front lines have been calling for a fix for the conditions that have led to our patients being cared for in hallways and ‘unconventional spaces,’ and the risk of our patients suffering. Nurses know that we need more capacity in our hospitals and more front-line nurses and health-care professionals at the bedside to care for them, not just during flu season but all year round.”

Earlier this month, ONA launched a new campaign to raise public awareness about the need for more registered nurses in our hospitals, long-term care facilities and in community care. Better Care Starts Here calls for more care providers that will lead to better health outcomes, and save the system money in the long run (nursesknow.ona.org).

“Nurses know the realities of the front-line of care, and how heavy workloads are an impediment to our patients receiving the best quality care possible,” says Haslam-Stroud. “While the government’s acknowledgement that we are in an overcapacity crisis is the first step, temporary new beds will not solve the problem. Ontario needs new, permanent investments in hospital care, long-term care and community care, including dedicated funding for front-line nurses in all these sectors. Our patients deserve it.”

ONA is the union representing 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

Visit www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; www.Twitter.com/OntarioNurses