PERTH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 29, 2016) - Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital staff will be among hundreds of health care workers from across Ontario heading to North Bay today, for a rally in support of Sue McIntyre who was fired last month for speaking up about workplace violence.

Hospital worker and president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2119, John Jackson, will be among those from eastern Ontario on the bus going to North Bay for the 12 noon rally in front of the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

McIntyre was among several nurses who spoke about workplace violence on a panel at a nursing conference in Kingston at the end of January. McIntrye was fired by the North Bay Regional Health Centre, following her participation on a panel where she spoke the systemic problem of patient violence against health care workers.

The consensus among the 150 RPNs attending the Kingston conference is that patient assaults on hospital and long-term care staff are increasing.

"At many hospitals staffing levels are low and nurse workloads too high. Compounding that sick nurses are not being replaced. Overall there are fewer staff to deal with aggressive patients," says Jackson. He credits the Perth-Smiths Falls hospital for recently hiring an additional nurse to address some safety concerns.

"Violence has long-term effects on health care staff, well beyond the concussion or the broken bones. The psychological impacts take a long time to heal. In some cases, the injuries sustained are so profound that the victim can never return to nursing," he added.

Data shows that Ontario patients get 6.1 less hours of nursing care than the Canadian average. Ontario spends $353 less per citizen on acute hospital care than any other province.

Just prior to McIntyre's termination, several Hamilton hospital nurses have been aggressively attacked by patients. The nurses were seriously injured. In one case nurses were repeatedly punched in the head, with one losing consciousness after being thrown against a wall.

The Hamilton nurse attacks are not unique. Recently, nurses in Cornwall and Kingston suffered serious injuries from patient attacks. In one, a nurse was beaten unconscious with a lead pipe.

"We will not be intimidated into silence. Violence at hospitals and nursing homes also negatively affects patients and residents. We urge our health minister must take action. Sue is brave. She deserves her job back," says Jackson.

Contact Information:

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications