Message from the UNA Local 115 Executive (Sep 2011)

Message from Vice-President Kathleen Hamnett

Dear Sisters & Brothers,

As fall approaches I hope you had a chance to enjoy some summer weather with your family & friends minus the thunderstorms known to Alberta.

The Local has been kept busy gearing up for the Regularization project; we are piloting a few units to evaluate the process, accuracy of the data, develop strategies to formulate a role out plan. Initially the task seemed daunting with the Local having 120 units/areas but with a role out plan the picture is looking brighter. Stay tuned to some dates for orientation sessions for ward reps and managers planned for Sept.

Another project within AHS is the Rapid Hire of Nurse to various units. Initially Local 115 had approx. 40 positions posted without a site or unit, AHS has since corrected these postings. As always it is good practice to check your letter of hire if you have recently changed your position by calling TSSI at 1-877-511-4455. The Rapid hire positions were created to deal with the Nursing shortage in various areas and to assist with the backfill for the South Health Campus slated to open in June 2012.

The South Health Campus will bring some relief to the over capacity issues at the acute care sites but the issues of “No room in the Inn” and lack of community beds and supports remain an issue. FMC currently has 24 Overca-pacity beds down from 69 in Jan 2010; the overall occu-pancy rate is 12% (April to July) with the exception of Neu-ro and Mental Health, which are usually utilized at overca-pacity. Ruth & I did a site tour of the remaining OC beds on Aug 10, 2011 with Brenda Huband – AHS-Senior VP, Shawna Syverson – FMC VP, Holly Mackin- Site Director, Ken Page -WHS Manager Calgary Zone, and Waqar Mughal – Director OH&S. A few of the spaces continue to have pros and cons to them.

The goal of AHS is to close the remaining 24 spaces as alternate space & resources become available in the near future. Brenda Huband assured UNA that AHS has a commitment to staff and patient safety by stating “Patient safety being the #1 priority”. Brenda clearly stated that managers have the ability to manage the OC beds, augmenting staff as needed based on acuity to maintain a safe staff, patient ratio. Therefore, it is important to advocate and communicate to your management teams the acuity & need. If this is not being done continue to file UNA PRC’s, UNA OH&S forms & call the AHS OH&S Line so the trends are captured. Ruth is in the process of arranging a meeting with UNA’s Surge Overcapacity Committee to review the data collected from each Calgary zone acute site tours and dis-cuss next steps.

The Provincial Political front has been quiet over the sum-mer. As candidates begin to ramp up their campaigns over the next month please take the time to consider their posi-tions on Public Services including health care, education, social & disability services, and Seniors. The issue that needs addressing is not to cut back on services but to in-crease revenue. Warren Buffet recently wrote an Article on “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich” (http://nyti.ms/nRigBa). Buffet spoke to the need for the wealthy to start paying their share in taxes and for the government to stop whittling away at the poor and middle classes income. The delisting of services continues to hit the average Canadian pocket book more than ever. Consider what you would do if you had to choose between food or medication & treatment due to an illness or injury.

Canada has lost a leader; Jack Layton succumbed to his battle with cancer. His message to all Canadians whether or not affiliated to the NDP Party was to never give up, have hope, be optimistic, and be loving. As members of the Health care team I believe many of us do this every day. Jack’s message is a nice reminder to us all to take time to appreciate each other, not take each other for granted, to support each other both in our professional & personal lives.

In solidarity,

Kathleen Hamnett
UNA Local 115 Vice President
Phone: 403-670-9960 Fax: 403-263-2908
e-mail: khamnett@una.ab.ca

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