Renal program at Health Sciences North counts on nurses' skills while downgrading status

SUDBURY, ON, Sept. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - Registered Practical Nurses (R.P.N.) eliminated at Health Sciences North in Sudbury have been sent to work in the renal program, where their skills as nurses are still needed, but their status has been downgraded, CUPE said today. " Registered Practical Nurses are required by the College of Nurses of Ontario to maintain their standard of practice and to practice to the full extent of their skills, whatever their new designation may be " says Dave Shelefontiuk, president of CUPE Local 1623, which represents staff at the Sudbury hospital.

Health Sciences North has cut beds, services and staff in the face of a 5-year funding freeze imposed by the provincial Liberal government. Ontario's Auditor General has estimated that hospitals need a 5.8% increase in funding each year just to keep pace with their costs, which are rising faster than the general rate of inflation due to the costs of drugs, medical technologies and doctors' salaries. The freeze has cut Sudbury hospital's budget by over 20% in real terms. Ontario hospitals were already the most efficient hospitals in the country with the fewest beds and staff and the shortest lengths of stay going into the budget freeze.

" Health Sciences North has been pushed to exploit these nurses because of its funding deficit " says Sharon Richer vice-president of CUPE local 1623. " R.P.N.'s will be expected to practice on the dialysis unit like nurses, but their status has been downgraded. Psychologically this represents a demotion to women who work very hard and professionally to provide optimum patient care. We have asked the hospital to reconsider its decision."

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Dave Shelefontiuk, President, C.U.P.E. Local 1623: 705-929-8457; Sharon Richer, Vice-president, C.U.P.E. Local 1623: 705-280-0911; Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications: 416-559-9300


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