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Nurses’ union filing grievance with AHS over layoffs
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:49PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 16, 2013 7:01PM MDT
The union representing thousands of registered nurses in Alberta has filed a grievance with Alberta Health Services, after dozens of positions were eliminated in recent months throughout the province.
CTV News has learned nearly 200 registered nurses have been laid off or moved within the health system in recent months.
A spokesperson with the United Nurses of Alberta said the job changes have put patient care at risk.
“Their program and the service that they used to provide isn’t giving Albertans that top quality care that they deserve,” Jane Sustrik said.
The union hopes the grievance filed with AHS will stop future layoffs.
“That we stop and take a look at this and say ‘Hey, listen, if we’ve got a $100 million surplus why are we laying off 200 nurses?’” Sustrik said.
However, Alberta Health Services said there’s no shortage, and nurses are still being hired, and 13 percent more nurses are working with AHS than in 2010.
“We have at this time more than 375 open positions for nurses,” Deb Gordon with AHS said.
“Even in the last 2 months, we have converted almost 300 temporary positions to permanent positions.”
Gordon also maintained that AHS was utilizing new staffing rules, to address the possibility of a nursing shortage in the future.
“We are faced with a potential shortage, unless we put some strategies in place to make sure we’re doing everything that we can to make sure we have the right person looking at the right patient at the right time,” Gordon said.
AHS said the organization first heard about the grievance Tuesday morning, but officials hope to meet with the UNA on the matter soon.
With files from Carmen Leibel