Media conference to outline campaign to protest nursing cuts at Almonte General Hospital

ALMONTE, ON, March 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Staff at the Almonte General Hospital represented by CUPE will hold a media conference on Tuesday March 24 at 10 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion in Carleton Place (177 George Street) to announce a campaign to protest the cuts to registered practical nursing staff at the hospital. 5 full-time and 3 part-time registered practical nurse positions are being eliminated at the hospital and replaced with personal support workers.

Registered practical nurses complete a 2-year community college program. They are fully trained nurses and, among many other skills, can do physical assessment, wound care, manage IV's and dispense medications. "

Almonte General Hospital is cutting services in the face of a 5-year funding freeze imposed by the provincial Liberal government.  Almonte is now in the 4th year of that freeze. 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 4-year funding freeze has cut Almonte's budget by 24% 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 4-year freeze.

"We plan an escalating campaign aimed to push the provincial government to fund hospitals like Almonte General properly, so can revisit their decision to cut nurses to balance their budgets.  A rally is planned at the office of local MPP Jack MacLaren on March 27 and a town hall meeting in Almonte will follow that" says Linda Melbrew, president of CUPE local 3022, which represents staff at the hospital.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Linda Melbrew, President, CUPE Local 3022, 613-314-5283; Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU), 416-884-0770


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