As the negotiating battle rages on between the San Francisco Department of Public Health and its nurses, a medic or two may soon be necessary.
Today's brief white paper -- which you can read here -- is self-categorized as "a public warning." It carries the eye-opening title "Empty Scrubs and Overflowing Beds," which does not make for pleasant mental imagery.
San Francisco General is a safe, high quality hospital.
We agree with our nurses that staffing is key to patient and staff safety. That is true for every hospital, and we take it very seriously.We do have vacancies, and we are working hard to fill them. The hiring process can be challenging because of city rules, and we are working together to resolve those issues, which apply to several positions in departments city-wide. Meanwhile, we have other options, including using on-call nurses and registry nurses - options that all hospitals use. Consequently, open positions don't equate to short staffing. We assess and adjust staffing levels every day, which is standard practice in operating a hospital.Right now, this union is bargaining for a new contract. They are at the table today. There are many issues being discussed there -- staffing, wages, working conditions - which is appropriate. We hope that a resolution will be reached soon, so that we can all move forward to continue to meet our mission of providing quality health care and trauma services with compassion and respect.San Francisco General Hospital is the city's only trauma center, busiest emergency room, and only psychiatric emergency room. Our nurses work in very challenging conditions, with patients in great need. Our nurses do a tremendous job and we have great respect for their skills and dedication. Hospitals are all about nursing care.We want to make sure that the people of San Francisco understand that staffing was not identified as an issue in either of the two recent incidents cited in the SEIU report. Both the tragic patient death last year, and the assault in the emergency department were fully investigated by state and federal regulators and hospital accreditors and staffing was not cited as a factor in those cases. The recent independent review of our security program also found adequate security staffing for patient safety.