for better or for nurse?

At the beginning of the month CBC News reported that assaults on nurses at Toronto’s CAMH facility are possibly a result of staffing cuts:

Is it possible the exact same thing is happening closer to home?

As recent as early last month Southlake went on the defensive releasing a Press Release after “one of Southlake’s valued team members was physically assaulted by a patient.”

The Error Banner covered it in their Dec 11th piece here:

It includes components of the Southlake PR which can be found in full on their website here: in which Southlake’s President and CEO Dave Williams is all over this thing running interference and spouting of gobldygook like:

“Southlake is deeply committed to the safety and protection of our staff, physicians, and volunteers.”

Sure it is.

Just not enough to prevent an incident from recurring that happened one year earlier, as referenced later in the release.

Which must be why ONA and the RN are holding Southlake Regional responsible for failing to ensure the safety of staff.

The ONA contends Southlake “continues to show disregard for health and safety laws and the safety of its nurses”.

Not exactly the “journey of continued improvement” that Williams is suggesting is in place, but then again the bar was very low just one year previous during an incident in which a nurse was beaten and three others injured during an assault involving a patient.

The ONA reported that York Regional Police declined to lay criminal charges against Southlake even though Southlake nurses had made repeated requests for extra security from hospital management as they cared for numerous patients who had been identified as being a potential danger to themselves or others in an overcrowded ER; their requests were denied. Southlake management had collected back the nurses’ panic buttons – used to summon help – several
months earlier:


Instead of criminal charges the hospital struck a committee purportedly implemented 166 association recommendations.

None of which seemed to result in any meaningful or substantive increase in security preventing the assault this past December.

Indeed “Everyone deserves to come to work and be safe as they carry out their important duties.” but simply stating after the fact that you’re “continuing to develop initiatives towards a violence-free workplace” does nothing to address the immediate situation, no matter how complex it is.

Which seems to be the frustration the ONA is addressing when they say:

“Southlake’s committee is good in the sense it encourages dialogue between staff and the union. What’s bad is that no measures to improve safety have been introduced. There have been no substantive changes to date.”

Being “acutely aware of the need to introduce workplace safeguards”, attending an international congress focused on the issue while spouting off statistics of workplace violence against nurses on the opposite side of the globe is irrelevant.

But what is downright insulting is how Williams gets so defensive that he makes this issue all about himself:

“From the day I arrived at Southlake, I have been clear in my commitment to staff and patient safety,”


Then how is it that with such a “clear commitment to safety” that Southlake has had 2 incidents of nurses being assaulted one year apart?

How exactly is Southlake’s management collecting back the nurses’ panic buttons, used to summon help consistent with such a a commitment to safety?

And how does hospital management repeatedly denying requests for extra security for nurses as they cared for numerous patients who had been identified as being a potential danger to themselves or others in an overcrowded ER provide a safe environment?

As for patient safety how about the mother of 3 children died Christmas morning after being crushed against her car when trying to pay for parking?:

All this lady was trying to do was pay her outrageous parking fee, a fee which Southlake board member and Aurora Mayor has informed us is a required revenue stream:

I’m struggling to understand how Southlake Hospital is in such a financial bind that it needs to collect revenue from parking so badly that safety is sacrificed to such a degree resulting in someone getting killed.

I’m also struggling to understand the financial pressures that would prevent implement meaningful changes in staff safety that have resulted in these past 2 incidents of assault on nurses.

The struggle begins when reading Southlake’s 2013/2014 Treasurers report which is available online here:

It reports revenues over expenses of $7.1 million for 2013/14.

Even after accounting for other capital items, such as building depreciation and deferred grants, interest expense, an excess of revenue over expenses of $787 thousand for the year was reported.


When Southlake reports a surplus of $7 Million (or $780,000 depending on which number you prefer) after paying it’s CEO $420,000 how does it justify it’s parking rates?

More importantly how could it not allocate $ for increased security for its staff?

Safety policies and procedures failed yet there isn’t a single acknowledgement by the hospital’s CEO and board in their press release and that illustrates a clear lack of commitment to safety and a lack of real leadership.

Having spent some of the holiday season in and out of Southlake for a family member’s surgery I am consistently impressed with the nursing staff.

Southlake’s “valued team members” deserve much better then being dismissed and placated with empty promises by it’s ineffective management team.


Watts on your mind?

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