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Ontario nurses call for moratorium on registered nursing cuts

Registered nurses at The Scarborough Hospital are advocating for their patients by helping the community send the message: cutting nurses is cutting health care.

Gregory Bennett/ONTARIO NURSES' ASSOCIATION

The Ontario Nurses Association is calling for a moratorium on cuts to registered nursing positions in the province.

The union says Ontario has the second-lowest RN-to-population ratio in the country: 668 RNs per 100,000 residents, compared to an average of 785 RNs to 100,000 residents in other provinces and territories.

It says the Ontario health system employed 844 fewer RNs in 2012 than it did in 2011.

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The ONA says cuts in RNs are happening in Ontario even though the Liberals promised to fix the problem when they took office 2003.

A statement from the union says nurses are the professionals who provide most of the front-line care to patients in Ontario, and that scientific research studies have demonstrated there are fewer deaths and complications when more RNs are providing direct patient care.

Last week, the union released new research that shows understaffing is causing more work-related injuries and illness. The union says the research shows RNs are the most injured workers in Ontario — facing more dangerous workplace conditions than even several groups of construction and manufacturing workers.

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