72 Licensed Practical Nurses and Health Care Aides to be Laid Off under the Misnomer of "Workforce Transformation"

Friends of Medicare has learned that starting today, 72 Licenced Practical Nurses and Health Care Aides working at the University of Alberta Hospital will be receiving their layoff notices as part of AHS `workforce transformation' scheme. "In an already over-stretched system, this attempt to save money by moving staff around units and hospitals can only be seen as nonsensical," states Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. "These front-line staff will be displaced and given the hope that they will find employment elsewhere in the system. This re-organization, transformation, whatever name one wants to give it, can only serve to cause havoc in our health care system," adds Azocar.

"The government has said that the changes will not have a significant impact on patient care, but they have already eliminated over 200 Registered Nurse and Licenced Practical Nurse positions under this banner of 'workforce transformation.' A single nurse being laid off will have a negative effect on the quality of care; 200 nurses being cut borders on gross negligence. Building capacity and efficiency in our health care system should mean more front-line health care professionals, not less.

We continue to see piecemeal staffing cuts and bed closures in health facilities across this province," says Azocar.

After Premier Klein's slash and burn of the health care system in the early 1990s, Albertans watched the government increase spending again to catch up, before slashing yet again. "Solutions to our health care difficulties are interconnected and this government needs to understand that you can't cut in one area to solve one problem and pretend that it won't affect others," says Azocar.   AHS hopes to have this 'workforce transformation' in place by April 2015.

Friends of Medicare is appealing to our Health Minister, Mr. Horne and AHS Administrator, Janet Davidson to stop this recklessness within our health care system.