Health work­ers protest cuts in Car­bon­ear


A dozen or so local mem­bers of the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion of Pub­lic and Pri­vate Em­ploy­ees (NAPE) shouted slo­gans and waved flags in front of Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal last week, protest­ing against the planned cuts by East­ern Health.

Led by NAPE pres­i­dent Carol Fur­long, demon­stra­tions were aimed at the planned cut of 37 full-time equiv­a­lent po­si­tions (FTE) at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral, In­ter­faith Cit­i­zens Home and the Har­bour Lodge Nurs­ing Home, as well as seven FTEs at the Pen­te­costal Se­nior Cit­i­zen’s Home in Clarke’s Beach.

“They’re very con­cerned about cut­backs to health care and the im­pact it is go­ing to have, not only on them­selves, but the qual­ity of care they can give to pa­tients in this area,” said Fur­long.

She said the some of the mes­sages be­ing given out by East­ern Health con­tra­dict each other, and presents a con­fus­ing sit­u­a­tion.

“The irony, as well, is that only a few weeks ago East­ern Health was say­ing that they had to trans­fer around other ar­eas be­cause they didn’t have enough room for them. Now, we find that they’re clos­ing down a unit at one of the long term fa­cil­i­ties,” said Fur­long. “It’s a mixed mes­sage and you have to won­der what the heck that is all about?

“On the one hand, they have to move peo­ple around be­cause there is nowhere for them to go and then they close down a unit.”

The lunchtime demon­stra­tion brought together work­ers from the hos­pi­tal in Car­bon­ear, Har­bour Lodge Nurs­ing Home and the Penet­costal se­nior cit­i­zens home in Clarke’s Beach.

The line was con­stantly in flux, as some had to put down their signs to re­turn to work and oth­ers filled their spots.

Steve Cole is the pres­i­dent of the NAPE local 5213 at the hos­pi­tal. He said the moves be­ing made by East­ern Health do not make sense.

“At the Car­bon­ear Hos­pi­tal, the ser­vices are be­ing ex­tended, there are new ser­vices be­ing added, and to my knowl­edge, I al­ways thought that meant more work but in this case they’re cut­ting jobs,” said Cole.

He said the cut­backs are go­ing to have an ef­fect on pa­tient care.

“Some­one’s got to suf­fer and the ones who will suf­fer will be the pa­tients or the peo­ple who live in this area.”

Added Fur­long: “The re­port that (East­ern Health) had con­ducted in­di­cated that the peo­ple in this prov­ince were get­ting too high a cal­i­bre of nurs­ing care. We were above the na­tional stan­dard. In­stead of say­ing, ‘ my gra­cious, isn’t it mar­velous we pro­vide high lev­els of nurs­ing care here,’ we have to go to a lower stan­dard so we can be the same as ev­ery­body else in the coun­try.”

The NAPE pres­i­dent, who has at­tended other demon­stra­tions in St. John’s and Bon­av­ista, chided the lead­ers of East­ern Health.

“We should be telling the rest of the coun­try that you should aspire to be as good as New­found­land and Labrador, not bring us down to some other level of stan­dard that we don’t ac­cept,” said Fur­long. “Cuts will not ben­e­fit any­body.”

Op­er­a­tional changes

Go­ing along with the other announcements, East­ern Health will also be re­lo­cat­ing one va­cant FTE com­mu­nity health nurse po­si­tion at the Har­bour Grace Com­mu­nity Health Of­fice. It will be split be­tween of­fices in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips and St. John’s.

“East­ern Health has com­mu­ni­cated this change to staff at the re­spec­tive com­mu­nity health of­fices,” East­ern Health said in a re­lease to The Com­pass. “It should be noted that it is a rou­tine process for East­ern Health to as­sess its com­mu­nity health re­sources across the east­ern re­gion based on de­mo­graphic changes and pop­u­la­tion shifts.

“The ini­tia­tives (East­ern Health) is im­ple­ment­ing to im­prove its op­er­a­tions will en­able the most ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient re­sources.”

While there are changes com­ing to Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal and the home in Clarke’s Beach, there will no changes com­ing to the Dr. A.A. Wilkin­son Memo­rial Health Cen­tre in Old Per­li­can or the clinic in Whit­bourne, ac­cord­ing to East­ern Health.





“We should be telling the rest of the coun­try that you should

aspire to be as good as New­found­land and Labrador, not bring us down to some other level of stan­dard that we don’t

ac­cept. Cuts will not ben­e­fit any­body.”

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Mem­bers of the local 5213 NAPE branch at the Car­bon­ear Hos­pi­tal, along with mem­bers from the Pen­te­costal se­nior cit­i­zen’s home in Clarke’s Beach and Har­bour Lodge, protest the an­nounced cut­backs to ser­vices by East­ern Health at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hosp­tial, June 18.

NAPE pres­i­dent Carol Fur­long speaks with de­mon­stra­tors out­side of the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, June 25. They were there to voice their dis­plea­sure with cut­backs an­nounced by East­ern Health.

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