UNA files province-wide grievance to block AHS from reducing patient care

By United Nurses of AlbertaJuly 16, 2013 08:34

For immediate release

United Nurses of Alberta has filed a province-wide grievance against Alberta Health Services demanding the province-wide agency rescind all recent nurse layoffs and stop future layoffs. The grievance was submitted late yesterday to AHS.

Despite audited AHS documents showing a $106 million budget surplus in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, UNA continues to receive notifications of layoffs at hospitals – including three Registered Nurses at Edmonton’s University of Alberta last week.

Many of the layoffs have been justified by AHS as necessary because of a lack of funds, despite this year’s surplus and surpluses in previous years.

“Through this grievance, we are demanding that AHS cease reducing the quality of patient care that Albertans receive,” said UNA Second Vice-President Jane Sustrik.

In recent weeks, UNA has received notice from AHS of Registered Nurse position eliminations or planned position eliminations at health facilities and service departments, many of them part of the AHS continuing “workforce transformation” program, “patient based funding” or other programs.

“Layoffs like these latest announcements in Edmonton continue to add up to a serious problem that is certain to have an impact on patient safety and the quality of care that can be provided here and at hospitals undergoing similar layoffs throughout Alberta,” said Sustrik.

Locations where layoffs have been announced include Calgary Community Health, Edmonton Community Health, Edmonton's Glenrose Rehabilitation, University of Alberta, Stollery Children's and Royal Alexandra Hospitals, health centres in Bashaw, Black Diamond, and Okotoks and the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary.

The number of nurses affected to date is close to 200.

“AHS and the government need to take measures right now to address the shortages of skilled and properly trained nursing staff throughout Alberta that are being created by their own staffing policies,” Sustrik said. “Despite their claims, we appear to be moving in the opposite direction.”


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