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Owen Sound nursing cuts will hurt patients, says RPNAO

OPSEU Local 276 members picket outside of Owen Sound Family Health Organization.

The CEO of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario says patients will get lower quality care if the owners of the Owen Sound Family Health Organization go ahead with their scheme to eliminate all nursing positions,

“They [patients] deserve access to nursing care,” said Dianne Martin in The Owen Sound Sun Times, adding that RPNs have professional standards that include ethics, confidentiality and therapeutic relationships for which they’re answerable to the College of Nurses of Ontario as well as to their employer. “Plus the people that you hire to be nurses have education in nursing and non-nurses don’t.”

A potential settlement that could have ended the nine-week strike was reached late on July 17, but the OPSEU bargaining team walked away when the owners then presented a scheme to lay off a number of workers, including nine RPNs.

“The new positions would not be part of a professional college that ensures patient confidentiality, standards of care and health care teamwork,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in the Sun Times.

He called on Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott to intervene in the strike and hold the doctors accountable, the release said. He also called on Elliott to order an audit of family health care clinics.

“During this strike we’ve seen public health dollars spent on high-priced Toronto lawyers and private security, it’s time to lift up the rock and scrutinize all of these clinics,” Thomas said. “Taxpayers need to know the public money being spent in these clinics is being spent on health care.”