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.”
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.”
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.