Ten hospital healthcare practitioner unions yesterday said they would participate in a demonstration tomorrow, calling for amendments to be passed to improve labor conditions.
Issues such as the mass resignation of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital surgeons last year and a scandal involving the Mackay Memorial Hospital chairman earlier this year highlight the need for stricter supervision of hospital governing committees, Taipei Doctors Union president Ellery Huang (黃致翰) said.
Regulations should be amended so that hospital employee representatives can join board meetings, he said, adding that a proposed amendment to the Medical Act (醫療法), which seeks to regulate corporate hospitals’ distribution of profits, is stagnating at the Legislative Yuan, so they urge legislators to make it a priority.
Trade union members should also be invited to accompany government inspectors during labor inspections, and mandatory nurse-patient ratios should be strictly legislated and altered to suit the three work shifts, Huang added.
“A high patient-to-nurse ratio certainly affects patient safety,” Taiwan Nurses Union president Jane Lu (盧孳艷) said, adding that studies suggest that patient mortality rates increase by about 7 percent for every extra patient that a nurse must take care of.
She said after the “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” labor policy went into effect last year, most hospitals tightened control over nurses’ working hours, but did not hire more nurses, so nurses have been forced to take care of more patients and work under extreme pressure, she said.
The regular hospital regulations only have strict rules on the patient-to-nurse ratio in emergency rooms, so the union is calling for them to be amended so that hospitals are required to be transparent about the ratio in all departments, Lu said.
Pingtung Christian Hospital Labor Union president Chan Chin-chun (詹智鈞) said that corporate hospitals’ financial statements show that most hospitals’ profits increase year after year, but the union feels that employees’ labor conditions have not improved.
The law should be amended so that hospitals have to be more transparent regarding their financial statuses, use part of their profits to improve labor conditions and allow employees to join their salary committees, he said.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
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