Toronto Hospitals Lay Off 120 Non-Urgent Care Workers

‘It’s going to bankrupt health care’: Spending on temp agency nurses up more than 550% since pre-pandemic at one Toronto hospital network

A Toronto hospital has been forced to lay off roughly 120 non-urgent care workers, on top of more than 600 that left voluntarily, as part of a sweeping purge to reduce costs and increase efficiency at a struggling hospital.

According to the Star’s medical-staffing reporter Matt Bajer, the hospital system has had its temp agency workers working temporarily around the clock since March, and the new contract will see another 200 come and go in the next couple of months.

Health-care workers at Humber Bay Regional Health Network are also facing layoffs, though those in other parts of the system will only see temporary replacements being brought to fill their vacancies.

According to a memo seen by the Star, the hospitals’ “nurse-to-patient ratio” – a measure of efficiency – has almost doubled, to 1 nurse-patient ratio to 34 patients in the past three months. A nurse-to-patient ratio of 1 to 29 has been the norm for years.

A report released Monday by the Fraser Institute, a think-tank based on income and spending trends in Canada, indicated the cost of hiring non-urgent care workers has almost tripled since the pre-pandemic downturn, from a total of $5.5 million to $17 million, a roughly 550% increase. That increase was partially driven by temp agency hires, but also by the number of cancellations that are now part of this year’s budget to free up staff for inbound deliveries and other non-urgent care.

“There’s more to be done to ensure that nurses have the necessary skills and expertise to be able to do the work they need,” noted the report.

Health-care workers are now being laid off in the rest of the province.

The hospital system’s chief executive officer, Mark S. R. Cunha, described

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