“Change is tough for people” Redford says of nurse layoffs

"Change is tough for people," said Premier Alison Redford in response to documents showing that Alberta Health Services plans to cut 200 Registered Nurse positions across Alberta.

The NDP released the AHS Scheduling Optimization document, dated November 4, 2013, to the media today.

“We’ve obtained documents that demonstrate very clearly this government’s intention to cut nursing positions in hospitals right across this province,” said NDP health critic David Eggen.

NDP says Alberta government plans to cut nursing positions

By Emily Mertz Global News

EDMONTON – The Alberta NDP said Thursday that it’s obtained documents that show Alberta Health Services is planning to cut about 200 full-time nursing jobs across the province.

The NDP explained the AHS documents dated Nov. 4 suggest most of the people affected would be Registered Nurses.

“We’ve obtained documents that demonstrate very clearly this government’s intention to cut nursing positions in hospitals right across this province,” said NDP health critic David Eggen.

“Through so-called ‘head count optimization,’ we will see, for example, a 37 per cent decrease in Registered Nurses at the Royal Alex Hospital, we will see a 15 per cent reduction in Registered Nurses (RNs) in the Foothills Hospital, 30 per cent reduction in Medicine Hat, and the list goes on.”

Eggen said the cuts would reduce the level of care people receive in the health system.

Premier Alison Redford was critical of the NDP’s claims.

“We’re hiring more nurses; we want to hire more nurses.”

Redford added that the province wants to hire more full-time RNs and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to work in family care clinics.

The premier said the health system is being restructured to run more effectively.

“It’s very clear that as we restructure health care, that we will ask people to take on new responsibilities. We know that we want to keep employing nurses on a full-time basis in the health care system, and that’s really important.”

“Change is tough for people and I understand that, but I mean, we are committed to continuing to fund health care, to fund public health care, and to hire people in the health care system that are going to be able to provide services.”

Eggen believes the government is misleading the public.

“There’s a whole reorganization where they are not filling nursing positions, and back-filling with nursing aide positions,” he said.

“The PC government and Alberta Health Services needs to stop misleading Albertans about cuts to nursing positions across the province.”

The AHS documents mention the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), the union that represents registered nurses.

Earlier this month the UNA accused the government agency of planning to eliminate hundreds of nursing jobs at 30 work sites across Alberta.

With files from The Canadian Press

Dave Cournoyer
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta
Website: www.una.ab.ca
Office: 780 425 1025
Mobile: 780 913 1563

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