The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is calling on the London Health Sciences Centre and the Ministry of Labour to take immediate action to stop violent attacks on nurses.
The union reports there has been a significant escalation of violent incidents. According to the ONA, a total of 18 attacks on nurses took place in 2013. The number grew to 360 in 2014 and the union reports 36 incidents have taken place in the first few weeks of 2015.
“This has left our nurses with head injuries and broken bones, yet the employer and the Ministry of Labour have yet to take action,” said ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud. “London Health Sciences Centre has experienced up to five violent incidents on a single day, yet calls for action by our nurses are being ignored.”
Haslam-Stroud said the employer has an obligation — under the Occupational Health and Safety Act — to report any violent incident immediately. Furthermore, she said, the Ministry of Labour has an obligation to investigate violent incidents.
“Yet the employer has sometimes failed to do so, and the Ministry has been slow to send an inspector,” Haslam-Stroud said. “This is simply unacceptable.”
The union’s local representatives have met with nurses to identify what safety gaps are leaving nurses vulnerable to violence. Staffing shortages, a shortage of panic alarms, the inadequate medication of patients, a lack of violence risk assessments as well as a lack of training and resources all contribute to the problem, the ONA said.
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