The Ontario Nurses’ Association says Health Sciences North in Sudbury will lose a total of 39 full time and five part time nursing positions.

ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud said the cuts will be from multiple departments, including oncology, critical care, surgery and mental health.

“This level of position deletion is really catastrophic to a large hospital like this,” she said. “Our patients’ death and disease rates are going to increase as a result of these cuts.”

Haslam-Stroud said the union has been told the cuts will happen over the next five months.

“The employer is basically balancing their budgets on the backs of the [registered nurses] across the whole organization,” she said.

“So we have patients that are going to be impacted from surgery, to the operating room, to diabetes care, to mental health to critical care.”

Working to reduce impact

Health Sciences North spokesperson Dan Lessard said the hospital did tell the union where it is planning to cut.

Lessard said the hospital needs to balance its budget, but is doing what it can to ensure positions that are lost are currently empty or might be soon.

“So let’s say someone might decide to retire in a couple months, that’s a position that might not be filled,” he said.

He added there is a push across the province to find efficiencies within hospitals, while still maintaining the best level of care possible.

Dan Lessard

Dan Lessard is a spokesperson for Health Sciences North in Sudbury. (CBC)

“What we are seeing in health care now is a lot of advancements in terms of minimally invasive surgical procedures, new treatments, a lot more community based care, so that patients are spending less time in hospital and they’re getting the care that they need in the community,” he said.

The hospital's budget will be made public in the next few weeks.