“Nurses at this meeting reported that their new norm is being over capacity at 150 per cent, working 2 nurses short on a unit, and being told by their managers to ‘tough it out.’ This is simply unacceptable." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President
Halifax (15 March 2019) —The nurses and health care workers, represented by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE), are speaking out on compromised patient safety in Nova Scotia’s hospitals.
Health care system at breaking point
At a meeting of their local, held on March 12, dozens of nurses gathered to talk about what is going on in the workplace. Their message was clear: the health care system is at a breaking point.
“The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) refuses to deal with the critical shortage of nurses, and as a result, frontline health care workers are being left to drown,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean.
“Nurses at this meeting reported that their new norm is being overcapacity at 150 per cent, working 2 nurses short on a unit, and being told by their managers to ‘tough it out.’ This is simply unacceptable," said MacLean.
Public needs to know how unsafe hospitals are
Here is an example of how chaotic and unsafe our hospitals are right now: NEDOCS is a universal program used to score and track the severity of overcrowding in emergency departments. A normal NEDOCS score is between 0 (not busy) to 200 (dangerously overcrowded). The NEDOCS score at the Halifax emergency department recently reached 420.
“The government needs to start disclosing these scores online daily, so the public can judge for itself how well the health care system is actually functioning,” said MacLean.
Emergency Department Monthly Visit data used to be posted on the former Capital District Health Authority website (now the Central Zone Health Authority website). However, the NSHA stopped sharing that information with the public in October 2016. One of the key recommendations made by frontline health care workers in NSGEU's Code Critical report was to ensure public accountability by sharing information with the public.
“We would appreciate if this government could be more open and transparent with these important health care indicators,” said MacLean.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE