Cutting 11,000 health jobs throughout pandemic will develop more mayhem, Alberta unions and NDP say

Cutting 11,000 health jobs throughout pandemic will develop more mayhem, Alberta unions and NDP say

Author of the article:

Lisa Johnson

Publishing date:

Oct 14, 2020 3 minute read

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley (right) and health critic David Shepherd (left) criticize the Alberta UCP government's plan to revise the province's public health care system on Tuesday October 13, 2src2src.
Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley (right) and health critic David Shepherd (left) slam the Alberta UCP government’s plan to revise the province’s public health care system on Tuesday October 13, 2020. Photo by Larry Wong/Postmedia

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Alberta’s plan to cut 11,00 0 Alberta Health Solutions jobs in an effort to save $600 million yearly will destabilize the general public health-care system and effect front-line care, unions representing health employees and the NDP stated Tuesday.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro told Postmedia Monday the modifications at AHS, which follow a February report by Ernst and Young described up to $1.9 billion in prospective savings, were continuing but with a less aggressive technique in decreases to scientific and front-line tasks.

The bulk of AHS jobs lost– about 9,700 positions– will originate from contracting out jobs in labs, housekeeping, food services, and laundry over the next three years. The remaining 1,300 care personnel or assistance staff positions will be lowered by attrition.

A minimum of one hundred management tasks will likewise be cut. The AHS report announced Tuesday counted a minimum of 800 medical tasks to be lost through attrition over the next 3 years. At a Tuesday press conference, Shandro said that would mean “minimal” uncontrolled job cuts.

” There can be no job losses for nurses or front-line medical staff throughout the pandemic,” Shandro stated.

But United Nurses of Alberta labour relations director David Harrigan said in a press release there is nothing to prevent the government from stating the pandemic over prematurely, making Shandro’s promise meaningless, tossing health care into mayhem and putting more workers at threat of losing their jobs.

” Stability in the middle of a pandemic will not be accomplished by short-staffed healthcare facilities and burnt-out health-care employees,” said Harrigan.

Shandro stated tasks set to be cut by AHS and contracted out don’t represent a decrease of work.

” For the majority of cases this refers employees just altering their employer from AHS to the independent company,” stated Shandro, who included that actual cost savings will depend upon the final details of agreements.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees president Man Smith informed reporters Tuesday its members are prepared to strike to eliminate for the front-line jobs of general support services like housekeeping and food service personnel. The union represents about 35,00 0 health-care employees, including certified useful nurses and health-care assistants.

” They’re considered heroes for helping Alberta make it through this pandemic, and now they’re being informed as soon as that’s over, thanks very much but you’re going to run out a task,” said Smith, who included that the cuts will affect mostly women, brand-new Canadians, single-income families, and those working in rural communities.

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The Alberta Federation of Labour, which represents 50,00 0 health-care employees, stated in a press release the cuts were ideological and put services at threat that are important to the work of medical professionals and nurses.

Dr. Paul Boucher, president of the Alberta Medical Association, which represents physicians, stated in an interview Tuesday the modifications will affect the whole health-care system, consisting of front-line care.

” You need to really keep in mind that particularly in the medical facilities we work in big groups. I can’t do my task without qualified nurses, I can’t do my task without certified lab specialists, I can’t do my task correctly if someone’s not there to ensure the floorings are clean, the beds are made, the garbage is done,” stated Boucher.

Health Sciences Association of Alberta president Mike Parker stated in an interview the government was misrepresenting who front-line employees are, which includes laboratory service workers and dieticians. The relocation will not save Alberta taxpayers any cash, and revenues will just leave the province, he said.

The AHS report indicated finding effectiveness in overtime and scheduling, however it also adds out-of-pocket charges for Albertans.

Costs to patients for products like crutches and casts will also increase in many cases, as direct labour expenses are contributed to billings for chargeable materials.

Shandro said around 70 percent of neighborhood lab services are currently contracted out, as has to do with 68 per cent of laundry services– but those are predominantly contracted out in Edmonton and Calgary. The report notes that some smaller sized AHS facilities could see reconfigured or consolidated emergency situation departments.

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley said at a Tuesday press conference while quality in care will suffer across the province, the impact will be felt especially in rural centres, where jobs and wages will be lost to the neighborhood.

” This is an entire brand-new layer of chaos for rural health,” said Notley.

The strategy will hurt the province’s possibilities for an economic recovery, she said.

The report also recommends brand-new co-pays in long-term care and increases to accommodation costs in long-term care or designated supported living, while exempting low-income patients.

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