Nurses protest against proposed reduction in positions at Central Health facilities

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Attendees of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Union (NLNU) biennial convention gathered for a noon-hour rally to protest Central Health Authority's plan to reduce registered nursing positions.

Close to 200 people attended the rally, loudly chanting, "Registered nurses equals safe patient care."

NLNU president Debbie Forward said the cuts will ultimately impact patient care in the region, while Liberal health critic Andrew Parsons said the move will not aid the cause to attract physicians.

NDP leader Lorraine Michael was blunt in assessing the situation, calling the decision to reduce registered nursing positions "bullshit."

For more on this story, read Friday's edition of The Telegram.



Nurses began a protest in front of Confederation Building in St. John’s at noon today saying they are concerned about patient care and staffing levels in light of proposed reductions to registered nurse positions in several Central Health facilities.  

A news released notes a new study released by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions shows that excessive nursing workload is negatively affecting patient outcomes. The report, Nursing Workload and Patient Care: Understanding the value of nurses, the effectives of excessive workload and how nurse-patient ratios and dynamic staffing models can help, was presented to provincial health ministers in September.

  NLNU President Debbie Forward said nurses want to provide the best possible care for their patients, but safe staffing levels are needed to do this.

 “We have the research,” said Forward. “We know that safe staffing improves patient safety and quality of care. Yet, we continue to hear about registered nurses positions being replaced or eliminated from the system. It’s happening right across the board in Central Health.”

The union says inadequate registered nurse staffing has been proven to be associated with increases in mortality rates, hospital-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sepsis, hospital-acquired infections, pressure ulcers, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, shock and cardiac arrest, medication errors, falls, failure to rescue and longer than expected length of hospital stay.

Following the rally at Confederation Building, registered nurses are expected to walk the picket line at the St. John’s International Airport in a show of solidarity for striking Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) local 90961 workers.

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Recent comments

  • Mzzzz Kitty
    November 10, 2012 - 22:40

    Hey, fellow newfs, I live on Vancouver Island in BC. I just finished HEU convention ( Hosp Employees Union). We are all facing the same issues and fighting for same rights. SHAME on all you posters with your pompous attitude. You go into a nursing home and work for a day...then give us your opinion.It's not all about the wages, it's about OUR workload which, in turn, results in BETTER patient care. Don't be so quick to judge us. We had our wages cut 15% in 2004...I am still not making the same wage as back, you call us GREEDY...what a laugh that is!!! Also, I joined a UNION because we protect one another...we fight for BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS...which EVERY person deserves, not matter WHAT they do...that's what UNIONS are all about. So, to all you members of NLNU.....YOU KEEP UP THE are caregivers , an integral part of society and our UNION strives for that to be known!! SOLIDARITY FOREVER!!!

  • Duffy
    November 08, 2012 - 17:33

    Contract time and here we go again. "We are only interested in Patient Care" yea right BS. All they want is more money and they will get it or strike - forget about patients. Ever go in a hospital and visit and need something and see the nurses all gathered around the nurses station complaining about the schedule or something while patients wait and wait. No - stop by Carbonear Hospital anytine and see and if you want a real treat visit the Third World wait 6 hours Emergency Room!

  • Umm Yeah
    November 08, 2012 - 16:55

    "than why not give me an option and allow to have private insurance and a separate, "pay" hospital to go to? " I think you mean then, not than. You do have that option. Head to the airport, fly to a private hospital and pay out of pocket. You can even get insurance down there.

  • KD
    November 08, 2012 - 14:59

    Who are the nurses trying to fool with patient care I hope its not nl ers we have been there with these people when the bottom line is jobs and money

  • dan
    November 08, 2012 - 13:39

    Get ready, there are hugs cuts coming in all Govt Services, thank you Mrs. Blunderdale for your budget forecasting ignorance! ABC in NL next election!

  • Tim Jamison
    November 08, 2012 - 12:11

    The gigantic money pit of forced socialist healthcare. If sociazlist healthcare is so good, than why not give me an option and allow to have private insurance and a separate, "pay" hospital to go to? Shouldn't the socialist healthcare sell itself and put the new hospital out of business?

    • Political Watcher
      November 08, 2012 - 14:43

      Hey Tim, take it easy. I am betting you are a Bill O'Rielly fan aren't you?

    • Vlad
      November 08, 2012 - 14:45

      Tim, you're absolutely right. In fact, I would go one step further and say that we should have privatized highway systems and road systems so that people like yourself can opt out of paying taxes for roads and highways, and use their own private roads and highways. Shouldn't the socialist roads, if they are so much better, put the private roads out of business? Give me a break. Your teabagger attitude is as uninformed as it is hateful. Taxes aren't a burden. They are a responsibility that you have to the society in which you live, to the society from which you have benefitted your entire life. If you don't want to pay taxes, you are not being noble or standing up against the evils of socialism - you are dodging your responsibility to the society in which you live. You frame socialism as if it is a leech on the John Galts of this world, when it is the John Galts of this world who are the genuine leeches, with all their tax avoidance schemes and refusal to give back to a society which made them rich.

    • Tim Jamison
      November 08, 2012 - 19:26

      Rather than play word games with me, why not just give me the option and, if you're right and mandatory socialist hospital systems are superior (they are INFERIOR and it should not be so, seeing as we all pay 11 grand a year each in taxes for them; about triple or quadruple what the average American pays), my private insurance and private hospital would go bankrupt and fizzle out on their own? Wouldn't they? Why are you scared of choice?

    • Vlad
      November 09, 2012 - 16:43

      I don't think you understand either the Canadian or the American healthcare systems. America spends approximately double per capita on health care than countries like Canada, Australia, or Norway spend, and their health care is much worse, covers fewer people, and is filled with rampant inequality characterized by some people going to five-star hospitals while others go to Dr. Nick. Your ideology is dying, Tim, and rightfully so. Your morals originate from an antequated mode of production in which hard work equaled success. This is no longer true. For some, hard work makes you billions, while for others, hard work earns you a trip to the chiropractor. You, Tim, want to make the oppressed wage-slaves pay even for that trip to the chiropractor.

  • Mary Collins
    November 08, 2012 - 12:11

    Nurses ROCK!

  • Political Watcher
    November 08, 2012 - 12:10

    Nurses protsting? This is not news; this is an expectation.