Nurses Association responds to patient caps at Kingston’s Children’s Outpatient Clinic

Hotel Dieu Hospital, a Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) site, located in downtown Kingston. Photo by Roya Dee.

Editorial note: The following is a submitted Op/Ed piece from the Ontario Nurses Association, in response to the announcement from Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) that it would be capping the number of walk-in patients accepted daily at the Children’s Outpatient Clinic, which is housed at Hotel Dieu Hospital. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is extremely concerned by the decision of Kingston Health Sciences Centre to cap the number of outpatient clinic patients it will see.

Children do need care, and capping the number of patients the clinic will see daily will have a detrimental impact on the hospital’s emergency department. Hospitals are not made up of individual units – they are highly interconnected and cuts in one unit will invariably have an impact on other units. The cap on pediatric patients will cause emergency department patient volumes to rise and wait times to increase.

While the hospital has cited a shortage of physicians as a reason behind the decision, ONA is aware that more specialized pediatric registered nurses (RNs) are desperately needed at this facility, a fact that has gone unacknowledged by this employer. This employer has reduced RN hours and baselines due to what it says are funding issues. ONA’s Professional Practice specialists are taking action regarding the shortage of RNs at this facility.

Capping vulnerable pediatric patients who require specialized care tailored to their needs is not a solution. It harms these patients, causes undue stress for parents, and will simply shift the burden to other units.

— The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA)

Share your views! Submit a Letter to the Editor or an Op/Ed article to Kingstonist’s Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

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