News Stories of Interest: Friday, Sept. 18, 2015

Good morning, here are some news stories that may be of interest to UNA members today:

No major spending cuts in 2015 budget, says Alberta Premier
In an exclusive interview with the Edmonton Sun, Premier Rachel Notley said the NDP government’s first budget will in fact include spending bumps to core services and infrastructure projects but won’t saddle the province with “unreasonable debt.” Front-line services “that are critical to the resiliency of Albertans as we collectively work through the economic slowdown” won’t see major cuts, Notley said.

Alberta won’t renew contract of chief addiction and mental health officer
Alberta’s chief addiction and mental health officer is concerned about a lack of experts in the government’s health department after being told his contract will not be renewed at the end of the month, making him the second high-profile provincial physician to vacate his post this year.

Edmonton students develop video game that can help save lives
The Royal Alexandra Hospital’s neonatal unit joined forces with the University of Alberta’s faculty of science to design a video game that will help train health professionals in neonatal resuscitation, potentially saving premature babies suffering from asphyxia. The game, called Retain, was scripted, directed and produced by six students from various faculties at the U of A using an engine developed by world-renowned Edmonton game developer BioWare.

‘Never events’ lists hospital mistakes that should never happen in Canada
Health Quality Ontario and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute released their report, “Never Events for Hospital Care in Canada,” today to highlight strategies to identify and reduce medical errors resulting in serious patient harm or death, and that are preventable.

Old stock Canadians? Social media used for fun and fact checks during debate
Canadians used social media during the federal leaders’ debate Thursday night to both fact-check what they were hearing and also poke a little fun and the discussion continued long after the cameras were turned off. The Canadian Press notes that the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions was among several groups using the [ ]#GlobeDebate hashtag on Twitter to get their own issues onto the radar.

Nurses union worried health care not on federal election radar
The P.E.I. Nurses’ Union President Mona O’Shea is concerned about what it sees as a lack of attention being paid to health care issues during the federal election campaign.

Expansion’s scale becoming clear at Medicine Hat Hospital
The Medicine Hat News reports on the ongoing expansion and construction at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.

CBC: Federal NDP commits $2.6B to support national prescription drug plan

A New Democratic government would use the purchasing power of the federal government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and pass those savings on to the provinces and territories, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says.

The NDP plans to spend $2.6 billion over the next four years to “work towards a plan to support universal comprehensive public drug coverage for all Canadians,” if it takes the Oct. 19 vote. The NDP is not committing to implement full coverage by the end of its first mandate, but Mulcair said he hopes to achieve average savings of 30 percent in prescription drug costs through bulk buying.

CFNU President Linda Silas applauded the announcement:

“For years Canada’s nurses have watched as the high costs of prescription drugs have forced the patients we care for to choose between feeding their families or filling their prescriptions,” said the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) President Linda Silas.

“All developed countries with public health care systems, except Canada, provide universal coverage for prescriptions and spend 15%-60% less on prescription drugs than we currently do. In Canada, we have experienced cuts in health care services because provinces have had to deal with constant rising prescription drug costs. It is time for Canada to implement a national prescription drug program.”

David Cournoyer
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta
Office: 780 425 1025
Mobile: 780 913 1563