Kitchener-Waterloo

More nurses needed in St. Mary's General emergency department, union says

The Ontario Nurses' Association says St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener needs to improve working conditions for nurses in the emergency department, and that includes hiring more staff. It comes after an independent committee looked at concerns raised by nurses.

Committee's recommendations 'will enable us to move forward in a collaborative way,' hospital says

The Ontario Nurses' Association says St. Mary's General Hospital needs to make improvements to the emergency department, including hiring more nurses. The call comes after an independent committee report made 79 recommendations for changes. The hospital says it will work with ONA to start to implement those recommendations. (St. Mary's General Hospital)

More nurses are needed in the emergency department at Kitchener's St. Mary's General Hospital, the Ontario Nurses' Association says.

The call comes after the association and hospital agreed to an independent assessment committee following concerns from nurses in the emergency department. The committee released 79 recommendations in relation to staffing and workload in a report last Friday.

The nurses' association president, Vicki McKenna, said in a release that nurses at the hospital "have been raising concerns with this hospital for the past three years."

On top of staffing levels, the association noted the committee looked at "11 areas of deep concern" that was related to patients who had to wait for inpatient beds being held in the emergency department.

"The panel has released a very strong report which, if implemented by St. Mary's, will lead to an improved practice environment for our members, reduced RN turnover, and improved care for patients," McKenna said.

The hospital says it will work collaboratively with the nurses' association to start to implement the committee's recommendations.

In a statement, hospital president Lee Fairclough said the committee "provided some fresh perspective on this issue."

The hospital noted the recommendations from the committee are not legally binding, but they will be taken seriously.

"I am confident that the recommendations they delivered will enable us to move forward in a collaborative way with ONA and its members," Fairclough said.

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