Provincial nurses association says nearly 100 layoffs coming to Newmarket hospital

"cutting registered nurses is completely irresponsible," says ONA head

Despite worrisome indications of a second wave of COVID-19, the Ontario Nurses Association ONA) claims layoffs are coming to Newmarket’s hospital.

The ONA says 97 registered nurses will be laid off from Southlake Regional Health Centre, balancing out to about 176,000 hours of direct patient care lost due to cuts.

“The hospital cites its budget as the reason for the cuts and, if this is so, then the government needs to immediately step in and do an audit and prevent these layoffs from happening,” said ONA President Vicki McKenna. “With the second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming influenza season, which will put undue pressure on all hospitals, cutting registered nurses is completely irresponsible.”

“These cuts will devastate the Newmarket community,” concluded McKenna.

“Similar to some other hospitals across the province, Southlake is currently facing a significant financial challenge and has announced a series of changes to address this while maintaining the same high-quality care that we provide to the communities we serve,” reads a statement from Southlake Regional Health Centre provided to Barrie 360. “Given the number of current and potential future clinical vacancies we have, we are hopeful to avoid any frontline involuntary employment loss at Southlake.”

“Southlake is facing a substantial deficit which is unrelated to COVID-19 and predates the pandemic,” continues the statement. “In addition to making these changes, we are partnering with Ontario Health Central Region on an independent external review by a third party. The objective is to review our funding position, our actions to date, and gain an understanding of Southlake’s funding requirements for 2020/21 and beyond.”