St. Thomas Elgin spends $550k on new employee monitoring system at a time of

ST. THOMAS, ON, March 18 /CNW/ - St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is installing a $550,000 biometric scanning device for monitoring their employees at a time the hospital is making cuts to outpatient laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging.

The Kronos system will identify worker's fingerprints to gain access to work areas. This information will be used to monitor workers for payroll, scheduling and time management functions.

"It's hard to understand why this would be a priority at a time the hospital is cutting services to balance its budget," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union. "They have yet to identify why this is particularly necessary at this time."

In January the hospital had notified staff and volunteers that cuts were coming to outpatient lab services and diagnostic imaging. The cuts will result in six fewer positions, including three in the lab and three in diagnostic imaging.

The hospital has suggested that the system will be paid for by reducing up to a one per cent error rate in payroll.

"Even if that were true," said Thomas, "a one per cent error rate could cut either way - over or under. It doesn't necessarily mean they will have savings to pay for this."

OPSEU is concerned that smaller rural hospitals may disappear with a new funding formula and price competition for the right to perform certain procedures. A rally is being planned to protest cuts to the hospital later this month.

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: For further information: contact Rick Janson at 1-800-268-7376 ext 8383

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