HALDIMAND-NORFOLK COUNTY, ON, April 8, 2020 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is beyond outraged at the decision of Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit to offer – and accept – early retirement packages to Public Health Nurses, especially at a time when the province is suffering through a COVID-19 pandemic.
"There are no words to express how utterly foolish this is," says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. "This Board of Health seems to be unaware of how serious this pandemic is, and will become. I urge them to shift their focus away from the budget and direct it to ensuring they have adequate staff to help bring this pandemic under control."
McKenna notes that the health unit serves a region that includes Anson Place, the long-term care facility with a serious outbreak of COVID-19 that has killed a number of residents and infected a number of staff.
"This health unit made the unfortunate decision to cut its Nurse Practitioner and a Public Health Nurse when the Ford government's public health cuts were announced last year," says McKenna. "Now, it is losing two of its most experienced and knowledgeable Public Health Nurses to early retirement at a time when their knowledge is invaluable to the community. Mayor Krystal Chopp has announced she plans to replace these nurses with others who are willing to work for two months, as temporary staff. That is not the ideal way to staff a public health unit in a pandemic."
McKenna says there is a shortage of family doctors in Haldimand-Norfolk, and many residents turn to the health unit for primary care as well.
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information: Sheree Bond, (416) 986-8240; [email protected]