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Gélinas fighting for improved patient-to-nurse ratios for Ontario

Opposition health critic argues that nursing ratios will improve working conditions for nurses and result in better care for patients
Ontario opposition health critic and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas speaking in the Legislature.

It all boils down to burnout when people in the health-care system have too many patients to look after.

Unlike a production line where you can stop making widgets when you're overtired, a person working in health care cannot just stop caring for sick people.

That's the reason that Ontario opposition NDP Health Critic France Gélinas said she is fighting to promote the passage of the Patient-to-Nurse Ratios for Hospitals Act, 2024, also known as Bill 192.

The idea of having a ratio is to put a fixed limit on the number of patients that a nurse can care for during their work shift. If there are a high number of patients, then the care facility should provide more nurses to look after them.  

"Our healthcare system is in crisis, with no relief from this Conservative government. We are handing them a solution that could do a lot to end nurse burnout today," said Gélinas. 

Gélinas said she is joining health-care leaders across Ontario in calling on the Conservatives to pass Bill 192. Nurses have also been calling for this model, which is scheduled to go up for debate in the Ontario Legislature.  

Under Bill 192 there would be ratios of patients to nurses for specific types of care:

  • A patient-to-nurse ratio of 1-to-1 for critical care patients on ventilators.
  • A patient-to-nurse ratio of 2-to-1 for:
    • i.  critical care patients not on ventilators, and
    • ii.  highly dependent patients who need mental health care.
  • A patient-to-nurse ratio of 3-to-1 for specialized care.
  • A patient-to-nurse ratio of 4-to-1 for inpatient and palliative care.
  • A patient-to-nurse ratio of 5-to-1 for rehabilitative care other than on night shifts.
  • A patient-to-nurse ratio of 7-to-1 for rehabilitative care on night shifts.

Gélinas said one does not have to look far to see examples of how this system works. She said nursing ratios have been put in place in British Columbia.

She said a similar system could be put in place in Ontario.

"The Conservatives could do the same if they weren't worried about playing politics and cared about the people of this province and our health-care workers," said Gélinas.

She added that such a measure is long overdue for Ontario.

"Nurses have been asking for this, studies are calling for this, and most importantly, Ontarians need this bill to be passed."


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