“We will not be silenced from speaking up about violence.”
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Support from the local community and from healthcare workers across Ontario is pouring in for Sue McIntyre, the North Bay nurse fired by North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) after she spoke up about employer reprisals against hospital staff who report attacks from patients.
Sue’s neighbours, friends and co-workers will show their support this Thursday, February 11, 2016 at a noon rally at Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli’s North Bay office. Thursday’s rally is the first of several events planned this month. Supporters from across the province are heading to North Bay for a rally on Monday, February 29, 2016 at noon at the hospital.
“Sue McIntyre is very brave to speak up about the problem of violent attacks on healthcare staff. The North Bay Regional Hospital is publicly funded and yet it has done its utmost to intimidate this nurse. Healthcare workers cannot and will not be silenced about the attacks that are happening inside this and other hospitals. The ministry of health should take a very close look at the actions of the management of this hospital and the climate of fear that exists there,” says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/CUPE.
Ontario government data shows that the risk of violence is higher in certain sectors like healthcare. Over the last few years reports of violence on hospital staff by residents and residents’ families is on the rise. Studies show that emergency rooms have the highest rates of patient violence in non-psychiatric hospitals. Although reporting has gone up, there is a general consensus that incidents of violence in hospitals are under-reported.
Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act says that employers must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. This includes protecting workers from the hazard of workplace violence. Assaults on staff are frequent at the North Bay Regional Hospital.
“Violent patient encounters are increasing. It is shameful that any hospital employer reprise a nurse for advocating for increased safety for both hospital staff and patients. We are asking for Sue to be reinstated and we are asking Mr. Fedeli to raise her case in the Legislature,” says Sharon Richer, OCHU/CUPE northeastern Ontario vice-president.
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