RNs & healthcare workers blow the whistle on the staffing crisis crippling SF General Hospital
On Thursday, March 10, Registered Nurses and healthcare workers at San Francisco General Hospital held a lunchtime rally to call attention to the staffing crisis that is plaguing city services and impacting patients and residents.
Over 100 hospital workers took part in the lunchtime rally, with many grabbing the bullhorn to share personal stories that highlight all of the ways they’ve seen patient care and hospital services suffer as a result of the chronic short-staffing and abuse of temporary workers.
“Our Emergency Room has been on diversion 60% of the time since last July. That means that well over half of the time we are so overloaded and short-staffed that we can no longer safely accommodate another patient, and so they are forced to be routed to other hospitals that may be farther away or less equipped to deal with their trauma or injury. The Intensive Care Unit is operating at 121% of budgeted, staffed beds and Med-Surg is at 113%. This isn’t a COVID problem, and it’s not limited to just one department—this is a structural problem with our staffing model that impacts every corner of the hospital,” said Dana Pullman, a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at San Francisco General Hospital.
Management’s refusal to adequately staff our city’s level 1 trauma center has stretched services dangerously thin, creating unsafe conditions for patients and leading to significant delays in accessing care. These issues impact departments across the hospital and the Department of Public Health as a whole.
“My department is working with a skeleton crew. We are short-staffed and backlogged, which means patients must wait to get critical outpatient services like ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, mammographies, and more. People who walk in for x-rays have to wait a long time for services even when they’re in pain, and that breaks my heart. We do our best to accommodate these patients, but management has decided that even though they’re sitting on $1 billion in reserves and a budget surplus surpassing $100 million, they don’t think it’s urgent to staff our hospitals appropriately. This is unconscionable in one of the richest cities on the planet. Hospital workers just want to be there for you when you need us,” said Mandana Siyadat, a Radiologic Technologist Lead at San Francisco General Hospital.
The City and County of San Francisco has over 3,800 already budgeted yet vacant positions across crucial city departments. Thursday’s action was led by workers at San Francisco General Hospital, who say management has refused to budget and staff according to the demand for care for years. The issue is not limited just to the Department of Public Health, however. Departments across the city are currently grappling with longstanding short-staffing issues.
That’s why, on March 23, SEIU 1021 members will join City workers represented by unions across San Francisco in a march down Market Street to demand that the Mayor take action to #StaffUpSF and invest in vital public services. Learn more and RSVP by clicking here.