Nurses union raises red flag over proposed shift changes at HSC

Proposed changes to nursing shifts at Health Sciences Centre and Children's Hospital are being rushed and could adversely affect patient care, the president of the Manitoba Nurses Union says.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/09/2018 (1421 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Proposed changes to nursing shifts at Health Sciences Centre and Children’s Hospital are being rushed and could adversely affect patient care, the president of the Manitoba Nurses Union says.

Darlene Jackson said the MNU has yet to receive official notice of the shift changes – even though hospital officials, in a videotaped session Sept. 11 with a handful of staff, set Jan. 11 as the implementation date. The video has since been removed from the Health Sciences Centre’s YouTube page.

In an interview Tuesday, Jackson said the union has still not received an “employment security notice” from HSC that would officially launch the shift-change process under its collective agreement. The nursing shift changes are part of Phase 2 of the Pallister government’s hospital reforms.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson is concerned that HSC is rushing the launch of a promised shift-change process at the hospital.

Jackson said while there had been “loose discussion” around the timing of the implementation of the shift changes, as far as the union is concerned the process does not begin until the MNU receives official notice from the employer, which has not occurred.

“This is very rushed,” she said. “We’ve asked them to slow down, to consult with us. These changes are massive and they’re going to be very disruptive for nurses.”

Jackson said because of the scheduling changes, experienced nurses could decide to leave the hospital, leave the province or retire.

David Lipnowski / THE CANADIAN PRESS NDP leader Wab Kinew questioned Premier Brian Pallister's plan to change nursing levels at the Children's Hospital in HSC.

According to the video, which was viewed by the Free Press, nursing rotation changes are planned for HSC mental health and dialysis units and in the emergency room, pediatric intensive care unit and CK5 unit at Children’s Hospital. The CK5 area is a pediatric medicine unit that includes hematology, oncology, bone marrow transplant, renal transplants, neurology and cardiology patients.

“We knew that (Premier Brian) Pallister wanted to cut health care, but targeting the Children’s Hospital? Really?” said Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

He said his concern is there is no guarantee come January, when the shift changes are set to take effect, there will be an adequate supply of experienced nurses in specialized areas to care adequately for young patients.

“You say you’re going to guarantee every nurse a job,” Kinew said of the provincial government’s promises. “But what guarantee is there for parents that when they show up with their kid at the ER that the nurses are going to have the right sort of skills to give them the health care that they need?”

An official with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority was not immediately available for an interview Tuesday.

A spokeswoman said in a statement the hospital reforms are designed to better match staffing at all facilities across the region with the populations they serve.

“The current master rotations in some clinical areas no longer match when patients require the most care. Part of HSC’s work to update master rotations to better address the demands and needs of our evolving patient base was successfully completed during Phase 1 of clinical consolidation with no impact to the safety or quality of care provided to patients. Additional work to complete these changes across the remaining units will begin within the coming weeks,” she said.

“The WRHA will continue to work closely with the union as we move through this process, and some changes may be completed without deletion notices being issued.”

A spokesman for Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Kinew is “attempting to scare Manitobans with wild claims” about the state of Manitoba’s health-care system. “As usual, his shameful fearmongering has no basis in reality.”

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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