Letter to the Editor: NICU issues are not just a "glitch"

Publish date: Monday, November 19, 2018

Health care

Nursing shortages

The following letter to the editor was submitted to an editorial published by the Winnipeg Sun

RE: Nursing crunch short-term pain of health care reform

I was disappointed by the suggestion that staffing shortages in NICU at St. Boniface are acceptable “glitches” in the health care reform.

It took nearly a year for the government to acknowledge the issue in NICU despite the fact that nurses flagged problems with the new rotations even before they were implemented. It will still be several months before new nurses are hired, oriented and trained.

Plus the problems go far beyond NICU. Labour and Delivery has seen a 218% increase in mandatory overtime incidences so far in 2018 compared to last year. The Maternal Child Unit has seen a 430% increase. Outside the Woman and Child program, Emergency, Cardiac Sciences, Medicine, and Surgery have seen increases of over 250%, 450%, 570%, and 1000% respectively.

Mandatory overtime is worst at St. Boniface, but overtime in general is up across the WRHA. Since Phase I's implementation HSC, Grace, Concordia and Seven Oaks have all seen an increase in overtime.

Excessive overtime puts quality patient care at risk. The government is trying to suggest it’s simply one unit, but the issues are system wide and amount to far more than a “glitch”. These numbers are appalling. The lack of adequate planning is unacceptable.

The WRHA and government need to come clean, admit they made a big mistake, and support nurses who have been bearing the brunt of their poor decisions, so they can provide the quality care Manitobans deserve.

Darlene Jackson
MNU President


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