KINGSTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 29, 2016) - Nurses and other Kingston area health care staff will be among hundreds of hospital and long-term 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.

McIntrye was dismissed by her hospital employer following her participation on a panel at a nursing conference in Kingston at the end of January where she spoke about about the systemic problem of patient violence against health care workers.

Helen Fetterly a long-time registered practical nurse (RPN) and secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) who was one of the other nurses who spoke along with McIntyre on the panel, will be speaking at the noon rally in North Bay at the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

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

In an interview with the Kingston Whig Standard following the nursing panel discussion, Fetterly said attacks by patients on nurses and other health care staff are near crisis proportion and that nurses did not enter the profession to "be exposed to someone beating on you, intimidating you or spitting in your face. I didn't sign up for that. I signed up to give quality patient care."

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.

"Staffing levels are low and nurse workloads too high. Compounding that, hospitals are not replacing sick nurses. There are fewer staff to deal with aggressive patients," says Fetterly.

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. Also hospital staff in Kingston and Cornwall 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. Our health minister must take action. Sue is brave. She deserves her job back," says Fetterly.

OCHU is co-sponsoring a community forum on workplace violence on March 21 in North Bay.

Contact Information:

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications