Nursing staff at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon are calling on Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to act on unsafe conditions in the emergency department.
CTV News obtained a letter to SHA leaders signed by 118 emergency department staff at St. Paul’s addresses overcrowding, unsafe ratios of nurses to patients and the indignity experienced by patients treated in hallways because of the lack of space.
Overcrowding leads to poorer patient outcomes, longer hospital stays and higher mortality rates, the letter says, and physicians have nowhere to properly assess people.
“We have great concerns that someday soon something bad will happen in our waiting room despite our best efforts to work in this broken system.”
With nowhere to treat new patients coming in, staff had to place people in hallway beds, “which are literally just stretchers in front of nursing desks and lined down hallways, with no safety equipment for the patients, call bells or oxygen.”
On Wednesday, the Saskatoon Fire Department said hallway beds were obstructing exit doors in the hospital, in violation of national fire code requirements.
“These deplorable conditions are leading to breaches in confidentiality, lack of dignity, and unsafe care provision due to no space with appropriate monitoring for care required,” the letter says.
“Staff report tremendous moral injury due to the conditions patients are placed in. Pad changes in the hallways while staff try hold sheets around the bed, examinations in the waiting rooms, chest pain patients with no heart monitor to observe their heart, cancer diagnoses given without privacy in the waiting room, sexual assaults with no bed to examine them or provide privacy,” staff wrote.
In an emailed statement, an SHA spokesperson told CTV News that a plan to deal with capacity pressure in Saskatoon’s hospitals