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TORONTO A Workload and Patient Care Survey of health care workers in Ontario shows crippling workloads that impact on the health of workers and the quality of care for patients, according to a survey conducted by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), a council of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Workload problems have been compounded because funding has been slashed dramatically as many chronic care hospitals are being converted into long-term care facilities by the Ontario government.

Our members are performing unpaid work and hurting their health under crushing workloads because of funding cutbacks, says OCHU President Michael Hurley. Health care workers report workload is hurting their health and affecting the quality of life of patients.

Ninety-two percent of respondents reported their workload is increasing, and 79% feel their workload 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 CUPEs Chronic Care/Long-Term Care Committee. Patients suffer when we have less time to attend to their needs or even offer social interaction. Frontline workers are often the only people they talk to on any given day.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents report that they are able to take patients outside less than once a month. Over half (52%) say they have less than 5 minutes a day to talk socially with each of their patients.

At the Perley in Ottawa, which is in the process of being converted into a long-term care facility, funding and staffing have been drastically reduced. Respondents noted even more workload problems 73% reporting unpaid work (compared to 53% in the other facilities) and 100% reporting an increased workload (versus 90% in the other facilities).

Our seniors are the foundation of our society, says Miriam Lockhart, of St. Peters hospital in Hamilton, and member of the Chronic/Long-Term Care Committee. They deserve to have an excellent quality of life and care in their remaining days.

The problems have been exacerbated because many chronic care hospitals are being turned into long-term care facilities, funded at much lower levels. Today, were calling on the new Minister of Health to stop the conversion of chronic care hospitals to long-term care facilities, says Hurley. The patients at Malden Park in Windsor, at St. Josephs Hospital and Home in Guelph, at St. Vincents in Brockville, and at the Perley Rideau Veterans Hospital in Ottawa, deserve proper care. 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.


For further information, please contact:

Michael Hurley, President, OCHU
416-599-0770, 416-884-0770 (cell)

Doug Allan, CUPE Researcher
416-292-3999, 416-526-4497(cell)

Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications
416-292-3999, 416-727-9144 (cell)