St. Joseph’s Hospital put balanced budget before patient meal

Saint John: The Union representing the workers at the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Saint John, CUPE Local 1252, is appalled by the management’s decision to cut on snacks served to seniors in the evening in order to balance its annual budget.

“The employees have been instructed to cut on the food served at night on three floors where approximately 60 seniors are waiting for a nursing home bed”, explained Ralph McBride, CUPE Servicing Representative.

“The management has decided to put the seniors on a diet in order to make up for the $16,000 they overspent in the last three years.”

“From now on, the employees on those three floors will only be allowed a limited amount of milk per day and a package of 12 cookies to be shared amongst 21 seniors on each floor.  The collation at night will now be milk / juice and one cookie or a toast per night but not both.  Nutritional snacks like yogurt and cheese will no longer be served to seniors unless it is a special order request for patient needs”, said McBride.

“Furthermore, we have been informed that if a patient doesn’t eat its lunch, to put the meal aside and give it to the patient later.  Are we now going to serve food that has been sitting there for hours to patients?”

“Recently, Health minister Ted Flemming said it was time to put care back into healthcare.  Hospitals reducing food access to seniors is not putting care back to healthcare. It’s time for the minister to walk the talk.  If he could afford to pay the CEOs of Horizon and Vitality Health Authority a combined salary of $675,000 per year, surely he can find the money to pay for nutritional snacks for our hospitalized seniors”, concluded McBride.