News Stories of Interest: March 16, 2016

Today is March 16. Here is a summary of news stories that may interest UNA members today:

New legislation strikes balance between public safety, workers’ right to strike: Alberta labour minister

Publicly funded workers such as nurses, paramedics and correctional officers will soon have the right to strike in Alberta, but must first negotiate the conditions of any job action, the government says. New legislation introduced Tuesday in the legislature will force unions and employers to have an “essential services agreement” in place before proceeding to collective bargaining. UNA First Vice-President Jane Sustrik told reporters that the public shouldn’t fear being victimized by a nurses’ strike, since the new framework will set out ahead of time which unions members must stay on the job. She said front-line workers have no wish to jeopardize the care of patients.

United Nurses of Alberta responds to new Essential Services legislation

UNA is encouraged by Bill 4: An Act to Implement a Supreme Court Ruling Governing Essential Services tabled in the Legislative Assembly by Labour Minister Christina Gray. UNA supports new legislation that will protect the public and patients at the same time as it respects the constitutionally protected rights of health care workers. Other unions, including HSAA and AUPE also issued responses to the bill.

Red Deer hospital surgery delays a ‘disaster’ affecting hundreds, surgeon warns

The closure of five of nine operating rooms after a flood at Red Deer Regional Hospital has "crippled" the facility, forcing the delay of hundreds of surgeries and making a six-month waiting list even longer, the chief of orthopedic surgery warns.

Alberta is researching supervised injection sites

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the government is reviewing evidence in favour of supervised injection services, though she doesn’t expect to be making decisions any time soon.“We will be looking at the evidence and working with our community partners to figure out, if we are going to move forward, where the best places might be for supervised consumption,” Hoffman told Postmedia.

Doctors stepping forward to offer physician-assisted death

Nearly 80 doctors have told Alberta Health Services they’re willing to perform physician-assisted death, says one of the doctors given the task of deciding how to put legal changes into practice.

Medical tourism costs Alberta health system $560K per year, study finds

A new study says the costs of fixing bungled out-of-country surgeries costs Alberta’s health system more than half a million dollars each year.The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery, surveyed 25 surgeons who treated 59 medical tourists between 2012 and 2013 after they had undergone bariatric surgery — a treatment for morbid obesity that involves, among other things, shrinking the stomach or intestines to induce weight-loss.

Covenant Health fired chief medical officer for alleged "intimate relationships" with subordinates

According to a CBC report, Covenant Health’s former chief medical officer has launched a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit against the organization, claiming it falsely accused him of breaching a conflict-of-interest policy so it could terminate his employment contract without proper notice. But in its statement of defence, Covenent Health alleges Dr. Jeff Robinson violated its code of conduct by engaging in "intimate relationships" with employees who Covenant Health claims were subordinates.

David Cournoyer
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta

Office: 780 425 1025
Mobile: 780 913 1563