The Clinton Public Hospital emergency department in Ontario had to close its doors on one weekend last August because it didn't have the minimum number of nurses to operate. Also from now on the Hospital is asking patients to register in the emergency department no later than 6 p.m. Although the emergency department will work between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.,patients are not received during the last 2 hours of operation due to the staff shortage and the amount of time it takes patients to be diagnosed and treated. In a release the Clinton Public Hospital mentioned that nursing shortages are actually common across Ontario.
In the same context Nurses' unions, labour leaders and others have been trying to draw public attention to the issue that demand for nurses is far bigger than the supply. Now they say the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation but it also served to highlight the nursing shortage.
According to Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, which represents about 200,000 nurses, the problem hits the smaller communities the worst. Silas has added that there is no planning or programs to predict the need for nurses in the future and to help educate more of them.
In addition to that and due to the work pressure and to capped payment increase, nurses are leaving their jobs creating more vacancies. In Nova Scotia for example, the vacancy rate has climbed from 7 to 20 per cent, according to the Nova Scotia Health Authority. In the last 3 months alone 34 people left the Halifax Infirmary emergency department. Six of these didn’t even have other jobs.