GUELPH, ON, Oct. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Nurse Practitioners (NPs) working at Guelph's Community Health Centre (CHC) are preparing for their second day of conciliated negotiations with their employer, seeking to catch up as the inflation rate has quickly exceeded their wage increases.
The eight NPs provide primary health care to some of the most vulnerable residents of Guelph.
"Our highly educated and skilled NPs are saving the health care system money by providing the care that helps keep this vulnerable population of patients from having to go to the emergency room," notes Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Yet despite the value to the system and most importantly, to their patients, our Nurse Practitioners have not been shown that they are respected or valued by their employer."
The ONA members work to provide health care for their patients throughout all stages of their lives, from infancy through end of life. These are valued health professionals that patients trust with their lives. While these NPs prioritize their care to ill patients, they also focus on illness prevention and wellness, saving the health care system millions of dollars.
The NPs, notes Haslam-Stroud, share the same responsibilities – with the exception of prescribing narcotics – with the general practitioners working in the CHC. Despite wage increases for management and physicians at this CHC, the NPs have received little in the way of wage increases and face an offer of zero per cent increases for the next three and a half years. Guelph CHC Nurse Practitioners are currently paid at least $5 to $10 an hour less than their colleagues elsewhere in the health care sector, despite a government increase in funding to all CHCs.
The NPs have increasingly taken on the responsibility for providing services that used to be provided in hospital. As the government decreases funding to hospitals, CHCs are picking up the slack.
Haslam-Stroud says that "our vulnerable patients rely on us to be there for them and they value the excellent primary care they receive from our Nurse Practitioners. We expect the same from the Guelph CHC's management."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 nurse practitioners, registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association