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Survey shows stress is high among northern hospital workers

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions says a new poll paints a worrying picture about the staffing crisis in Northern Ontario hospitals.  

The union says 58 per cent of staff say they “dread going to work,” and 81 per cent are reporting high stress levels. 

“They’ve also told us that two in five members are actually contemplating leaving their jobs over the next year,” says Sharon Richer, OCHU secretary-treasurer. 

She says there are a few concerns. 

“Staffing levels and their working conditions,” Richer says. “There’s not enough staff to do the work that is definitely required. We’re seeing Registered Practical Nurses and Personal Support Workers crying before going into work, crying after work, which is bleeding into their home lives.” 

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The survey of Northern Ontario hospital workers was part of a province-wide poll by Nanos Research of more than 770 staff represented by the OCHU.  

Richer says they’re heading into bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and staff-to-patient ratios are one issue they’ll be discussing.  

“We see this in California over the last two decades and patient outcomes have improved, staff morale has improved,” she says. “We are also looking towards the British Columbia government who is just starting to implement these staffing ratios.”  

Richer says they’re asking the OHA to create more full-time work over the next five years.  

She also says they’re calling on the Ford government to increase hospital budgets by $1.25 billion to help with staff concerns around compensation, especially with higher inflation.  

The province has said they’ve hired over 60,000 new nurses since 2018, along with 8,000 new physicians. 

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