Alberta Health plans confusing to nurses

What would happen to health services is hospitals were to close?

Dear Editor:

I am a registered nurse who has been a member of the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) negotiation committee during the last two rounds of collective bargaining. I am extremely perplexed with Alberta Health Services’ new position that there are too many registered nurses in acute care. CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett admitted he does not know the current registered nurse to licensed practical nurse ratio but he says it has to change.

I also do not comprehend the plan to greatly decrease hospital services to the public. I am a rural nurse who works in one of the hospitals that could be closed. I often arrive at work to find the emergency department used as a holding area for patients needing beds. Where would all of these patients go if we closed?

During recent negations, the dire shortage of registered nurses province-wide was a common concern. In fact, there is a large study underway that is jointly endorsed by both the UNA and health employers to assess retention and recruitment of registered nurses not only in Alberta but throughout Canada. Dr. Duckett needs to explain how the core values of respect, accountability, transparency and engagement pertain to the health needs and expectations of the Alberta public.

Wanda Zimmerman, RN,