NORTH BAY, ON There is little community support for North Bay Regional Health Centre’s (NBRHC) handling of the issue of workplace violence, a poll conducted on March 5 (2016) shows.

81 per cent of poll respondents say the hospital was wrong to terminate Sue McIntyre, a North Bay nurse who talked about violence in the workplace at a nursing conference in Kingston, late in January. Further, 71 per cent say they do not think the hospital is addressing the problem of violent assaults against staff properly.

These findings are significant, says Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) president Michael Hurley because the “overwhelming support Sue has had from so many people in the community, is now measured. North Bay is a community where people know each other. They know that staff who work at the hospital are assaulted and sometimes some are beaten very badly. They see the hospital respond the problem of violence in a very repressive way. They are not impressed and it will impact fundraising. The board at the hospital should be very concerned.”

The poll made over 2,000 live connections in North Bay. Of those, 381 people completed all the poll questions. The majority of respondents (72 per cent) were female.

“Women are often most responsible for their family’s health care decisions. So we think the fact that 72 per cent of the people who answered the poll are women, is really important,” says Sharon Richer, OCHU northeastern Ontario vice-president. “As a society we are no longer silent about violence against women. Women working in health care should not be beaten at work and then intimidated into silence by hospital administrators,” Richer says.

On the important issue of adequate staffing levels and the link to patient assaults on staff, 62 per cent said increasing staffing would reduce patient violence in the workplace. The poll findings also show that the North Bay regional hospital’s handling of the workplace violence issue, will have an impact down the road. 61 per cent said the hospital’s decision to terminate Sue McIntyre will affect their willingness to donate to the hospital in the future.

For more information please contact:

Michael Hurley
OCHU President

Sharon Richer
OCHU Regional Vice-president

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications