News Stories of Interest, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013

Good morning. On this date in 1492, Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, now occupied by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Accordingly, it’s Discovery Day in those two countries. It’s National Day in Thailand and today is also marked by the UN as the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development. Here in Alberta, the following stories may be of interest to UNA members and staff:

[ ]Redford Government’s anti-labour bills sail through PC-dominated legislature

The Alberta Legislature passed third reading of Bill 45 late yesterday with a 33-8 vote. Bill 45 will significantly increase fines for unions engaged in an illegal strike and includes unprecedented restrictions on the free speech rights of Albertans. Bill 46, which eliminates binding arbitration and imposes a wage deal on the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, was also passed. All Opposition members in the House voted against the bills. Not a single member of the Tory caucus raised any objection to the unconstitutional nature of the legislation.

[ ]Oh well, one outta 99 ain’t bad!

Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services revealed Wednesday that only one of 99 eligible executives has turned down the pay-at-risk payments, which totalled $3 million in the last fiscal year.

[ ]Alberta close to announcing Family Care Clinics

Provincial health officials say they are close to finalizing agreements to create a number of new Family Care Clinics, whatever they are, although it appears unlikely any will be open by the end of the year.

[ ]Second death reported at Calgary nursing home

A second resident of a Calgary nursing home is dead after suffering from badly infected wounds. Family members say Wyonne Somers was unconscious Oct. 13 when she was rushed to hospital from McKenzie Towne Care Centre by paramedics. Photos taken at South Health Campus 10 days after Somers arrived show the 75-year-old woman still had open sores on both calves and a puss-filled wound the size of a baseball on her left foot.

[ ]Health services bosses vow consequences for seniors’ care harm

Consequences will be real for care providers who slip up, says Rick Trimp, interim co-president and co-CEO of Alberta Health Services, who also apologized to anyone who felt hardship as continuing care and home care transitioned.

[ ]Physician assistant at work near Lethbridge

Until recently a physician assistant with the Canadian Forces, a Lethbridge-born man is now working as an assistant to a physician in Milk River. As a team, they’re taking care of patients in the town’s medical clinic, its emergency room and its long-term care facility. The man is one of about a dozen PAs recently recruited by Alberta Health Services as part of a two-year demonstration project in rural communities where a small population makes it difficult to attract and retain physicians.

[ ]UK nurses under pressure to work for free

The U.K’s Royal College of Nursing has discovered 54 per cent of nurses are working more than their contracted hours and 58 per cent say they are under too much pressure. The survey of 1,681 nurses paints a picture of dedicated professionals who are “running faster and faster to deliver health services that are struggling to meet demand, because they do not have the resources and support” they need. Many are pressed to work for free just to keep services going.

David Climenhaga
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta
780-425-1025 (Office)
780-717-2943 (Cellular)

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