February 27, 2019 12:21 pm
Updated: February 27, 2019 5:09 pm

Grand River Hospital cutting 40 nursing positions: ONA

The main entrance at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener.

Nick Westoll / File / Global News
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Forty registered nursing positions have been eliminated at Grand River Hospital (GRH), according to the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

The ONA says that the hospital has cut 25 full-time and 15 part-time positions as well as four beds in the mental health unit.

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“It is very clear – cutting registered nurses from in-patient surgery, the adult mental health unit, renal and adult surgical units and geriatrics hurts patient care,” ONA President Vicki McKenna said in a statement.

GRH president and CEO Ron Gagnon says the hospital has a budget shortfall of $8 million for the fiscal year which comes to a close at the end of March, which prompted the changes.

He points out that only a quarter of the people affected are leaving the hospital, and most are leaving through retirement.

“One person has left due to layoffs, while nine others have left for early retirement and everyone else who was impacted has found another position within the organization and we have filled vacancies within the organization,” Gagnon told Global News.

He says the hospital’s “no. 1 priority” remains keeping services in tact within the community.

The budget shortfall is expected to increase to $18 million next year and reach a total of $41 million over a three-year period.

Gagnon expects to have “a proposal to the (GRH’s) board at the end of March” to deal with the budget woes.

Mckenna is urging area residents to contact elected officials to voice their concerns about the problem.

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“With hallway health care an issue across the province, RN cuts are simply wrong,” said McKenna. “I encourage everyone who cares about access to high-quality care to contact their local MPP and the health minister to speak out against RN cuts now.”

Gagnon took the job with Grand River Hospital last fall after over a decade in charge of a hospital in Sault Ste Marie.

He says it was not clear exactly how big a challenge balancing the books would be.

“Some of the challenges are bigger than what many had expected, what I had expected coming in for sure,” he said.

 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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