New Brunswickers need to speak out to save health care

MONCTON: The Union representing Health Care workers in New Brunswick, CUPE Local 1252, is worried about the impact of the recent budget cuts and what the next round of budget restriction will have on the delivery of health care in the province.

“We have been informed that the Health Authorities will slash another 1% from their budgets in the coming year.  How deep do the cuts have to be before the citizens of New Brunswick realize they need to speak out to save healthcare?” asked Norma Robinson, the President of the New Brunswick Council of Hospitals Unions, CUPE Local 1252.

“What will be the impact on patient care of these new cuts? What services will be impacted by those cuts.  What closures are we going to see?  New Brunswickers deserve to have these questions answered”, said Robinson.

“The employer has implemented a new nursing model on long term care units and is currently doing studies on the oncology and surgical units; these changes will be applied in early 2014. What will be the impact to patient care when these cuts happen?”

“All these changes have an effect on the workers who deliver the services.  We are currently seeing an increase in the Workers Compensation claims from injured employees who are forced to work alone due to staffing reductions.

“Furthermore, the Department of Health is currently looking at contracting out of Management of the Food Service; Environmental Services and Porters; what does this mean for the system?  Will we see more frozen food systems being implemented? Will those in hospital beds being served food which was frozen months before?  Is this the food New Brunswickers deserve when they are sick and dying in an hospital bed?”

“We have requested information from the Department of Health on the cost to deliver these services today and to date have not been provided this information; why has this not been provided?  Where is the cost savings to contract services to companies outside New Brunswick when we currently have individuals within the system who are trained to provide this service efficiently and effectively?”

“We need to keep health care services public; publically delivered health care is the most cost effective service”, concluded Robinson.

More than 100 members of CUPE Local 1252 are meeting in Moncton this week for their annual meeting.