Despite surplus, Rouge Valley announces more layoffs of professional staff

TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Despite running a surplus, Rouge Valley Health System has given notice of layoff this week, claiming the cuts are part of their third-year deficit elimination plan.

Only last month Rouge Valley CEO Rik Ganderton told the Central East LHIN that cuts to services would be unnecessary if the hospital received at least a one per cent increase in funding this year.

While no figure has been given by the Ministry of Health, Premier Dalton McGuinty has confirmed that an increase is coming.

Health care professionals represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees have been hard hit - 14 full and part-time positions in diagnostic imaging, lab, mental health, cardiac care and rehab are being lost.

"We are particularly surprised to see another full-time lab technologist cut in histology," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union. "Over the last two years we have lost two of four full-time lab techs from that unit. Given the importance of histology in the diagnosis of cancer, this is a very reckless move."

The union was also surprised to see four positions eliminated from mental health, including a part-time psychometrist as well as one full-time and two part-time social workers.

"Given existing questions about the ability of Rouge Valley to handle the case load of acute mental health patients, we cannot understand how fewer staff are going to solve this problem," said Rhonda Watt, president of OPSEU Local 311.

While most of the positions will be lost from the Scarborough Centenary site, two positions will be lost from Ajax-Pickering, including a full-time physiotherapist and a part-time ultrasound technologist.

The union is concerned that the cuts will be dangerous to patient health excessive workload may lead to an increase in errors in patient diagnosis.

SOURCE OPSEU

For further information: For further information: Rick Janson at (416) 443-8888 ext 8383


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