Peterborough hospital workers protest layoffs ahead of digital patient record system rollout

About 40 hospital workers at the Peterborough Regional Health Center demonstrated Wednesday against what their union calls “premature dismissals” ahead of the launch next month of a unified digital clinical information system (CIS) for patient records in seven central Ontario hospitals.

On Wednesday morning, hospitals participating in the joint publications announced that their new Epic CIS will go live on December 3. Hospitals introduced the system in June with the intention of launching it in December.

Read more:

Peterborough Regional Health Center and 6 other hospitals to launch digital clinical information system

Billed as a ‘game changer’ in healthcare delivery, the system will collaborate on personal health records and promises to provide real-time access to medical records and health information between CHRP, Ross Memorial Hospital. in Lindsay, Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg, Campbellford Memorial Hospital, Haliburton Highlands Health Services, Lakeridge Health in Durham and Scarborough Health Network.

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However, OPSEU / OPSEU Local 345 says the CHRP has issued 84 layoff notices in office positions at the hospital, all of them women. The union says PRHC is the only hospital to date to have made redundancies before the end of the training and implementation of Epic.

In a statement, OPSEU / OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the layoffs “premature” and an attack on “highly skilled health care workers” who have worked “tirelessly on the front lines of the pandemic ”.

“Our members are not against the systems that make our hospitals more efficient, but the layoff of invaluable frontline workers will be an epic failure for PRHC,” said Thomas. “We do not support the removal of the human connection in patient care and we ask the CEO to reconsider his approach; give hospital staff time to learn and adapt, and discuss retraining opportunities if necessary. Don’t risk weakening patient care in the midst of a pandemic.

In a statement to Global News Peterborough on Wednesday morning, PRHC President and CEO Dr Peter McLaughlin denied the allegation of 84 layoffs.

He said a “limited number” of office roles will be phased out and other office roles will be changed to ensure the hospital is “well positioned to continue supporting patients and their families in the future.” .

“The hospital has worked closely with the union and affected employees to mitigate any actual job loss due to employee retirements and other departures, and to ensure that, to the extent Whenever possible, the people concerned have the possibility of being redeployed within the organization to fulfill different roles. “McLaughlin said.

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“In the limited number of cases where positions have been cut, we have been able to offer early retirement to eligible staff, creating employment opportunities for people who would otherwise have been affected.

“In the end, less than 10 people voluntarily left the organization as a result of this change. Nearly 200 office workers continue to be employed at the hospital.

McLaughlin says training is provided in cases where roles change and help is provided as the hospital moves to the new system.

“These role changes will take place gradually over a long period of time, and those affected have been given several months’ notice to support their transition,” McLaughlin said. “We recognize the importance of job loss and the impact it can have on those affected and their families, and we have worked closely with the union to provide those affected with all the supports available.”

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The Epic system will also include the MyChart Central East Ontario patient portal which will provide patients with access to their medical records and personal health information. Patients can register for the portal starting December 3 by visiting

“Epic is a game-changer for east-central Ontario,” said Dr. Ilan Lenga, chief information officer and director of medical information for Lakeridge Health, who also leads the Epic regional team. “It will dramatically improve the way we deliver care in east central Ontario for generations to come.

Kelly Isfan, President and CEO of Ross Memorial, called Epic’s launch “the largest clinical transformation project” in the hospital’s history.

“It will streamline the ability of our patients and healthcare professionals to communicate with each other, enabling even more precise decisions about the treatment and care of each individual. Epic will transform the way healthcare is delivered in our Kawartha Lakes community and across the region. “

More soon.

—With files from Tricia Mason, Global News Peterborough

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