OPSEU asks for moratorium on job loss in North Bay

NORTH BAY, ON, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - A proposal to transfer 31 psychiatric rehabilitation beds out of the city of North Bay will mean the loss of dozens of jobs, warns the union representing staff at North East Mental Health Centre (NEMHC). OPSEU is asking for a moratorium on any bed transfers until the full impact to the community is known.

Sue Brown, OPSEU Regional Vice-President and member of Local 636 at NEMHC, says that the loss of these beds will not only affect patient care, but could impact 50-100 jobs in North Bay.

"This area can't afford to lose any more stable, well-paying jobs," Brown said. "We must make every attempt to keep these patient services in North Bay."

At issue is a so-called "lack of space" at the new North Bay Hospital. Services at NEMHC will be amalgamated into the hospital when the scheduled closure of NEMHC occurs in early 2011, and the hospital says there is no room for the 31 psychiatric beds.

OPSEU Local 636 president Jackie Smythe says that every attempt must be made to keep services and jobs in North Bay.

"Recommendations to the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) are that the beds be moved to Sudbury or Sault Ste. Marie," Smythe said. "We need to know what the full extent of the job loss will be here before a decision like that is made."

At a meeting held Monday night, North Bay city council voted unanimously in favour of a motion to keep the 31 beds in North Bay.

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: For further information: Sue Brown, (705) 499-5129; Jackie Smythe, (705) 471-5811

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