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Capital Health Refuses Safe, Responsible Staffing Proposal

The NSGEU is appalled that bureaucrats at Capital Health are misleading the public and healthcare workers on the issue of Emergency Services in the event of job action by nurses.

Nurses have agreed to 100 per cent staffing levels in the emergency room, intensive care, cancer care, veterans’ care and hemodialysis units.­ Capital Health’s claims surrounding service cancellation and low registered nurse staffing levels are clear exaggerations and an attempt to distract from the bigger issue: that they have completely refused to participate in the process of determining reasonable and responsible emergency service staffing levels.

During past rounds of bargaining with Capital Health, an Emergency Services Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) had been agreed to by both parties. In fact, during the last round of health care bargaining, with Local 42 in 2012, the NSGEU and employer met with an arbitrator to help resolve a few outstanding issues regarding emergency services. We have suggested that same process be used now, but the employer has refused.

“Capital Health is trying to discredit the NSGEU’s efforts to reach a similar agreement in Local 97’s current round of bargaining,” says President Joan Jessome.

“By refusing to recognize the same emergency services process that was used with Local 42 in 2012, these bureaucrats are simply trying to set the stage for government intervention in the hopes that essential services legislation will be forced on NSGEU registered nurses.”

Furthermore, claiming that nurses are putting patients at risk is frankly insulting, given that their core bargaining issue is about ensuring safe patient care through sick call replacement and scheduling, as well as the introduction of mandated minimum nurse to patient ratios.

The NSGEU is ready to return to conciliation at any time, provided the employer is finally prepared to address nurses’ safety concerns and seriously discuss nurse to patient ratios. At the very least, the employer should do the responsible thing, and return to the table to negotiate emergency service levels.

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The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer
424.4063 (office)
471.1781 (cell)
hfraughton@nsgeu.ca

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