March 21, 2018 5:29 pm

Mandatory OT at St. Boniface Hospital at ‘crisis level’: nurses union

WRHA and the Manitoba Nurses Union are at odds over mandatory OT at St. Boniface Hospital.

File / Global Winnipeg
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The Manitoba Nurses Union said Wednesday overtime has reached a crisis level at St. Boniface Hospital.

So far in 2018 MNU said it is aware of 328 reports of mandatory overtime, which it says is the equivalent of all mandatory overtime reported in all of 2017.

And since reporting of mandated overtime is voluntary, the union said the actual number is likely much higher.

MNU President Sandi Mowat said the situation is unacceptable and demanded that the WRHA take immediate action.

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“We’ve been told repeatedly by the region and the provincial government that the changes they’re making would help reduce the overtime nurses were required to work, but we’re seeing the exact opposite,” Mowat added.

“It’s further evidence that they didn’t have an appropriate plan in place to begin with. The process has been rushed, and now nurses are being pushed to the limit.”

RELATED: Health officials downplay row of ambulances outside Winnipeg hospital

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority admits its a concern.

“Nurses have and will work overtime from time to time, but certainly the frequency at which they’re working overtime is a concern,” Lori Lamont, acting chief operating officer said.

The WRHA said a spike in flu cases and some staffing issues are largely contributing to the problem and not changes to Winnipeg’s emergency room system.

RELATED: Winnipeg hospitals performing well despite tricky flu season: WRHA

The union warned quality of patient care could be at risk if excessive overtime results in increased sick leave and burnout, adding to already short staffing levels.

The nurses union represents 1,600 nurses at St. Boniface hospital, and over 12,000 nurses across the province. Mandatory overtime numbers were not made available for other hospitals.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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