Stop laying off Licenced Practical Nurses, says New Democrat
New Democrat MHA Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) called Eastern Health’s decision to cut hours of frontline nursing and personal care employees “a cost-cutting measure that could affect patient care.” She is asking the Minister of Health and Community Services to get involved because of the potential impact on tertiary care.
“The Minister needs to meet with the union about its concerns, and with Eastern Health about its cost-cutting measures, to stop the downgrading of these much-needed acute care workers,” said Rogers.
Forty-seven Licensed Practical Nurses and Personal Care Attendants in St. John’s have had their hours cut and have been moved from full-time to part-time status. Eastern Health has said they are not needed full-time in the system.
Rogers questioned why such services are no longer needed. “There hasn’t been any reduction in patients or beds, or in the demand for these services. This looks like a way to save money on the backs of frontline workers. And patients could be the ones who suffer,” said Rogers.
Rogers was astounded to hear that the laid-off LPNs will be called back to work as Personal Care Attendants, a job that pays less. “LPNs have specific training and they provide specific and necessary services in the health care system,” she said. “Recently their profession has required more training and upgrading and their workload has increased. If they get downgraded like this, they will look for work elsewhere and the province will lose these skilled workers.”
“If Eastern Health is doing this to cut costs, it speaks to the need for a review of our health care system. Let’s stop cutting frontline staff.”