St. Vincent Hospital begins cutting services amid ongoing nursing strike

WORCESTER, Mass. — Striking nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester will resume talks Monday with a federal mediator.

The nurses begin their picket every morning in front of St. Vincent’s at 6 a.m. It’s become a routine for nearly five months. But because this strike has been going on so long, the hospital has now been forced to cut some services.

Starting Monday, the hospital says patients needing certain surgeries and procedures will likely face delays as St. Vincent will close a quarter of its operating and procedure rooms. The hospital is closing 80 inpatients beds along with 25% of its critical care beds. Officials say it’s no longer sustainable for them to keep all their services open. The nursing strike, which began back on March 8, is the longest in state history. The nurses’ union maintains staffing levels are the biggest reason for the strike, advocating for a one to four ratios of nurses to patients on medical and surgical floors.

The hospital has been using replacement nurses, and even hired some, as this strike continues. Now the hospital says rising covid rates across the country have created an increased demand for travel nurses, making it harder for the hospital to retain them.

The last round of negotiations was back on July 22 and 23. Talks resume at 10 a.m. Monday with a federal mediator, and then again, if necessary, on Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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