Downsizing Likely at Thunder Bay

Downsizing so far was a little heard, or almost an alien, term at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. But no more! For, an Ontario Nurses Association official has warned that nursing cuts, which have hit hospitals hard in southern Ontario, could soon be coming here too.

Vicki McKenna, a Vice-President with the Ontario Nurses Association who made a stop in the city Monday to kick off National Nurses Week, blamed the Ontario government for having failed to ensure adequate funds for the healthcare. The sector, as per her, must remain a priority, and nursing levels must grow, despite record-breaking provincial deficits being reported by the government.

"The reality is that this is a primary health-care right that we have as Ontarians… We have a right to adequate healthcare, and it needs to be a No. 1 priority,” McKenna said. That isn’t to say that there aren’t other things that are very important as well, she asserted.

Also, McKenna blamed the availability of replacement nurses in Thunder Bay to fill staff shortages whenever a scheduled RN called in sick for the job crisis. It’s a daily occurrence at the hospital, which does its best to maintain a
4:1 daytime ratio of patients to nurses, a number that drops to as low as 8:1 overnight, she quoted a research for having found. "And unfortunately death rates rise."