‘It’s going to bankrupt health care’: Spending on temp agency nurses up more than 550% since pre-pandemic at one Toronto hospital network.
With the pandemic hitting, there’s no doubt healthcare is in need. Hospitals across the country are facing shortages of medical personal, supplies, and other resources. But not all are feeling the pain equally. Nurses stand out as a prime scapegoat.
Take one hospital in Toronto:
The Scarborough General Hospital network, a for-profit health care provider, had its staffing levels slashed by more than 50% between October and March. Staffing levels at Scarborough General have dropped from 50 to 20 full-time staff. More than 25 temporary nurses were hired to offset that reduction.
The cuts did not begin with the global pandemic, but escalated during the lockdown itself, and are not limited to those being laid off. The cuts will continue until the end of the pandemic, at which point the network will re-evaluate staffing levels.
Health care is already expensive. But it’s going to cost even more after the pandemic.
But the hospital network is the one who makes the money.
It’s an industry filled with temporary employees.
“We did not have anyone on call or on standby last month. It was really only for COVID-19 patients. As of this week, there is a shortage of medical personnel for the hospital network,” says hospital spokesperson Jennifer Smith.
So, what does all this mean for residents who may need that care? Well, the company makes a living off of the health care provided by the network.
“We have a huge loss of revenue,” says Jennifer Smith, hospital spokesperson.
Those temporary nurses are not on call 24/7.
They are only there on-call when they are needed.
“When health care staff are being redeployed because the pandemic is ongoing, our clinical support staff also are redeployed, and then our temporary nurses are hired,” says Smith.
Not only do these temporary employees make extra money, it creates a sense of urgency in front of the patients.
The nurses who are now on call are ready