Alberta’s nurses union says province is aiming to cut 500 full-time positions

Alberta nurses face job cuts

Alberta nurses face job cuts

Alberta could lose more than 750 front-line nurses under a "massive downsizing" at Alberta Health Services (AHS), the United Nurses of Alberta said Friday.

"What we have is a notice today of Alberta Health Services proceeding with significant job loss for Registered Nurses (and) Registered Psychiatric Nurses".

In a statement released Friday, the union says 750 RN and RPNs will be laid off over the next three years, but as President of the UNA Heather Smith says, it will likely be quicker than that. Beginning April 1, AHS says they will use all options under the collective bargaining agreement to implement OBP (operational best practice).

But he added a government-commissioned report on Alberta's finances found that the province is paying more per capita than other jurisdictions on health with comparatively substandard results.

Decisions are still being made, but AHS was required to disclose the measures as part of the collective bargaining process, it said in a statement.

But Steve Buick, a spokesperson for Shandro, said the minister has no plans to meet with the union because "that would be interference in bargaining that hasn't even started yet".

"We do not believe Albertans will support this plan, and they should tell the premier so".

At a business conference in Lake Louise, Kenney told reporters: "We've always been clear that getting our province's finances back in order will require some reduction in the size of the overall public service, and that we hope to achieve that primarily through attrition". "My understanding is that's the goal of AHS management".

"There are also clear indications that AHS plans to shift numerous costs of health care onto Albertans require treatment". We've kept our commitment.

Almost 6,000 Alberta public-sector jobs could be eliminated as the UCP government tries to cut costs and find efficiencies, the provincial government signalled to Alberta's largest union in letters released late Friday afternoon.

In a letter to the union, Fitz suggested the AHS would continue to look for ways to revamp the health system.

"While our budget has remained stable, Alberta's growing and aging population means we need to be more efficient and focused in terms of health-care spending", the letter says.

It is looking at the possibility of contracting out home-care services including nursing, palliative and pediatric care.

"AHS will continue to consider all options available to meet our organizational needs including changes to staff mix, service redesign, including changes and repurposing of sites, relocating services, reducing or ceasing the provision of services", it says.

"People in this province believe the premier and the [United Conservative Party] were elected on the conditions of assuring the public that health and education front-line workers would not lose their jobs, and certainly this speaks something very different". "I'd say to Alberta Health Services that if that was their intention and their plan then they got it wrong".

There are more than 26,000 registered nurses employed by AHS, according to data available on the authority's website.

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