June 1, 2017
TORONTO – The ratio of registered nurses per capita in Ontario is sinking fast, says the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), putting the quality of care of the province’s patients at further risk.
A report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) on registered nurses (RNs) in Canada showed that the province of Ontario continues to be in last place in the RN-to-population ratio.
“It is shameful that Ontario, the richest province in the country, continues to risk the care of our patients by not adequately staffing health-care facilities with RNs,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. “There is no excuse for this province to have so few RNs, especially in the face of the overwhelming evidence that increased RN staffing improves patient outcomes and saves the system money.”
Ontario’s RN ratio per 100,000 population is worse than last year and remains at the bottom of the country for the second year in a row. “For Ontario to reach the average RN staffing ratio in Canada would now require 19,126 additional RNs,” notes Haslam-Stroud. “Ontario had just 703 RNs per 100,000 Ontarians in 2016, compared to the Canadian average of 839. Newfoundland and Labrador, by contrast, employs 1,141 RNs per 100,000 residents.”
Haslam-Stroud says that study after study has shown that for every extra patient added to an RN’s workload, the rate of patient complications and even death rises by 7 per cent. Patient complications include blood clots, bedsores, pneumonia, sepsis and failure to rescue.
“The benefits of RN care are well-studied and well-known,” she says. “There is no excuse for Ontario to be in this dismal position, and I urge Ontarians to demand their MPPs pull us out of the basement and demand quality RN care when they need it. They deserve no less.”
ONA is the union representing 64,000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, family health teams, community health centres, the community, clinics and industry.