News Stories of Interest, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014

Good morning. It’s Independence Day in Estonia (from Russia in 1918). It’s Flag Day in Mexico. Oh, and it’s Dragobete, the Romanian equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Here in Alberta, it’s just cold. There were a few stories of interest to UNA members and staff.

[ http://bit.ly/1lfhcxI ]Say what? Health system faces year of restraint?

With a new provincial budget on the way in weeks, Health Minister Fred Horne is telegraphing a year of restraint for the medical system, the Calgary Herald reported yesterday. UNA President Heather Smith reminded the reporter of that extra billion dollars in federal health care transfers Alberta is receiving, and suggested the money should be spend on such critical areas as front-line health care, pharmacare and long-term care.

[ http://bit.ly/1epNY6T ]Middle class life a myth in Canada: unpublished federal report

Canada’s middle-class is mortgaging its future to stay afloat, making the Canadian dream “a myth more than a reality.” That’s the blunt assessment of an internal Conservative government report, an unvarnished account of the plight of middle-income families that’s in contrast to the rosier economic picture in this month’s budget. The document was prepared last October by experts in Employment and Social Development Canada, the department that runs the employment insurance fund and other income-support programs. The Canadian Press obtained the report under the Access to Information Act.

[ http://bit.ly/1pjDM8H ]OH&S for farm workers? Just do it, Premier Redford!

Nice to hear that Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk is “warm” about bringing Alberta into the 21st century and protecting farm workers under the province’s occupational safety and health laws and labour standards, writes the Calgary Herald in an editorial. Too bad “warm” isn’t good enough. It’s been two-and-a-half years and counting since Premier Alison Redford promised to extend health and safety legislation to farm workers, the Herald said. “It’s time to keep it.”

[ http://bit.ly/1fxALgJ ]Deputy Premier sticks by defence of Bill 46

Deputy Premier Dave Hancock defended the province’s controversial Bill 46 again on Friday, saying the province always bargained in good faith with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, despite a scathing court ruling last week that said otherwise.

[ http://bit.ly/1hi7ZAE ]Power outage slows Hat hospital activity

Power went out at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital in the early hours of Friday morning with an emergency power supply clicking into place that was still in use mid afternoon. With only emergency power all elective surgery and some diagnostic imaging services that had been scheduled for Friday, were cancelled.

[ http://usat.ly/1k5zbGB ]Mysterious polio-like illness appears in California children

A mysterious polio-like syndrome has affected as many as 25 California children, leaving them with paralyzed limbs and little hope of recovery. The first known case appeared in 2012. The California Department of Public Health has asked health care providers to report any polio-like cases they might identify and send specimens so that it can assess the situation.

[ http://bit.ly/1cgImfb ]Despite promises, B.C. fails to crack down on docs’ fees

B.C. Auditor-General Russ Jones reported last week that the province’s 10,000-plus doctors consume almost 10 per cent of the entire provincial budget. Physician salaries went from about $3.6-billion in 2011-2012 to $3.8-billion this past year. But so far the province has failed to live up to its promise to get physician fees under control, the Globe and Mail reports.

[ http://bit.ly/NrTLTh ]Ontario moves ahead with fast food calorie counts on menus

New Ontario legislation to require big fast-food chains to post calorie counts on their menu boards is expected today.

[ http://bit.ly/1pjyGJz ]Another case of measles appears in Central Alberta

A case of measles has been confirmed in Central Alberta in addition to two probable cases, Alberta Health Services says.

[ http://bit.ly/1mrOSGh ]Postpartum hemorrhage cases increasing in Canada, study shows

Growing numbers of Canadian women are suffering hemorrhages after giving birth, including severe blood loss requiring transfusions, hysterectomies or other emergency procedures to control the bleeding, Postmedia news reports.

David Climenhaga
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta
780-425-1025 (Office)
780-717-2943 (Cellular)
www.una.ab.ca

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