The McGill University Health Centre’s implementation of cost-cutting measures in order to reign in a growing budget deficit has led to the layoffs of nine trauma and orthopedic nurses working at the Montreal General Hospital.
After government auditors came to the conclusion last December that the MUHC network was looking at a projected deficit of $115 million, the network came up with a series of cost effective strategies.
The cuts planned by MUHC Chief Executive Officer Normand Rinfret for the 2013-2014 year include: 65 per cent reduction of manpower hours, 16.4 per cent related to contracts and other non-salary expense reductions, seven per cent from standardization of practices, 5.6 per cent related to team consolidation/work redesign, 3.5 per cent from capping clinical volumes based on budget and 2.5 per cent from unspecified application of the Quebec Health Department policies.
As reported by The Gazette last week, it appears as though employees are now part of the cuts the MUHC will be establishing as part of the budget deficit plan. About one quarter of the Montreal General’s 12th floor trauma recovery nurses have been notified that their positions in the hospital have been cut and closed.
Montreal Children’s Hospital nurse, Nathan Friedland, worries that the cuts will affect aspiring nursing students as well.
“When new nurses join the profession they’re already somewhat discouraged because they know they’ll get burned out because of the long hours and so on, so when they read about cutbacks and layoffs, they realize it’ll likely be them, the young new ones being laid off,” Friedland said. “Two new nurses, who were grads, had 90 per cent of their hours cut, because they don’t have a specialized position. They’re mostly filling in for someone on a leave of absence.”
Not only will these cuts be affecting MUHC employees but with fewer nurses in each ward of the hospital, nurse-to-patient ratios will be significantly altered.
Where originally there was one nurse with four or five patients, each nurse will now have up to eight patients, essentially doubling the workload. This will add more responsibility and more pressure to nurses to make sure that they perform up to par.
The MUHC network controls six of Montreal’s major hospitals including the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital.