Canadian Nurses angry over cutbacks

  1. The hospital needs to catch up with the times and stop moving in the wrong direction by cutting jobs of frontline health workers, say registered practical nurses (RPN) upset at hospital administrators.

    About 15 RPNs gathered for a press conference at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Wednesday afternoon to voice their frustrations at the "slash and burn approach to budgeting."

    The RPNs represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) received 38 of the 75 total layoff notices last week. These are cuts that will result in the deterioration of patient services, union representatives say, and are completely unnecessary.

    "This hospital is under-utilizing RPNs," said Joanne Wilson, regional vice-president of the health care council for CUPE representing about 35,000 hospital workers.

    "Nursing practice is actually suffering here."

    She made several suggestions as how to provide more cost-savings at the hospital such as using RPNs to their full scope of practice instead of relying on registered nurses, whose salaries are significantly higher, to perform similar duties.

    "It's like saying to a doctor who is a surgeon, 'We're going to hire you but you can only use your scope as a general practitioner," explained Ms Wilson, noting the average Ontario RPN makes $45,000 annually versus $65,000 a registered nurse earns in one year.

    "This hospital is very behind."

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