Nursing Week 2010: Not much to celebrate as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance cuts
registered nursing positions

CHATHAM, ON, May 14 /CNW/ - A Nursing Week event scheduled today at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance will be a subdued affair - 15 registered nurses have been told that their positions are being cut, just prior to a scheduled 11:30 barbeque lunch outside the hospital.

"Chatham-Kent's mission statement is: Caring people, caring for people," notes Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA). "How ironic that Chatham-Kent decision-makers have chosen Nursing Week to deliver the news to our skilled and dedicated registered nurses that they will no longer be able to care for their patients."

Haslam-Stroud notes that the cuts will particularly target the care received by the youngest and the oldest patients. "RNs are being cut in pediatric day surgery and outpatient care, where many elderly patients receive care. In addition, the hospital is cutting a lactation consultant, which flies in the face of research showing that new mothers need support to ensure their newborns have the best possible start to life."

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance planned cuts will see:

    -   The short-stay unit at the main campus closed completely - two of
        those beds will move to the main campus in-patient surgery unit, and
        four full-time, three part-time RNs cut.
    -   The cutting of two full-time, two part-time and one casual part-time
        RNs from its pre-admit unit - gutting care for surgical patients.
    -   Moving its paediatric day surgery and pre-admit unit to adult day
    -   Cutting care in its ambulatory care unit and cutting one full-time
        RN, and possibly one part-time RN.
    -   Halving its lactation consultant RNs, from two to one.

"Our RNs are extremely concerned that our elderly patients will no longer receive the appropriate level of post-operative monitoring they require and will be at increased risk of suffering complications," says Haslam-Stroud. "The hospital plans to replace the RN positions with registered practical nurses, whose scope of practice allows them to care for stable patients who do not require the level of care and critical thinking that RNs bring.

"ONA believes these layoffs - set to take place in about five months - are in contravention of the message sent by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in its Excellent Care for All Act. The Ministry has clearly said that RNs, RPNs and nurse practitioners are to each augment - not replace - the care provided by one another ( yet Chatham-Kent intends to cut RNs to the detriment of patient care."

ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240

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