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A survey of health care workers in Ontario shows crippling workloads are harming workers health and patient care. The study by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions shows that workload problems have been compounded as funding has been slashed and chronic care hospitals are converted into long-term care facilities.

Our members are performing unpaid work and hurting their health under crushing workloads, says OCHU president Michael Hurley.

Ninety-two percent of respondents reported their workload is increasing, and 79 per cent feel overwork is hurting their health.

Workload is not just a problem for workers, says Bonnie Snyder, health care worker at St. Josephs hospital in Guelph, and chair of the provinces chronic care/long-term care committee. Patients suffer when we have less time to attend to their needs. Frontline workers are often the only people they talk to on any given day.

The problems have grown worse as many chronic care hospitals are being turned into long-term care facilities, funded at much lower levels. Were calling on the minister to stop the conversion of chronic care hospitals, says Hurley. The government has already cut thousands of chronic care beds and proper care wont be achieved by cutting more beds or by forcing huge funding cuts.

The release of the OCHU survey followed a very successful Ontario Division conference that brought together 400 members and staff to tackle the workload problem.