For immediate Release:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Healthcare Cuts Having Negative Effect on Patient Safety in Central Newfoundland

ST. JOHN’S, NL – NAPE President Carol Furlong is raising concerns about the impact that cuts are having on patient and worker safety, particularly as it relates to the Protective Community Residence being opened by Central Health in Lewisporte.

“The new Protective Community Residence scheduled to open in Lewisporte is an example of misguided policies driven by the current trend of cutting at all costs by the health boards, in this case by Central Health,” said Furlong. “The residence in question will house twelve patients with various levels of dementia. On the night shift there will be one staff person to provide care and security for the residents. This has the potential to place patients and staff at risk. If there was a catastrophic event such as a fire it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to awaken and safely evacuate patients. This is totally unacceptable.”

NAPE’s concerns regarding the Protective Community Residence in Lewisporte is a prime example of the negative impact that cuts are having on our province’s healthcare system.

“The state of our province’s health care system continues to be a matter of concern and discussion across the province. Workloads have increased to unacceptable levels which compromises the ability of staff to provide compassionate levels of patient care. Staff are working short, split shifts, and have difficulty receiving time off. All of this is leading to fatigue and unmanageable stress levels,” continued Furlong. “In recent weeks Central Health has been in the forefront as family members of patients feel they have nowhere to turn to address their concerns but to the media. The approach health care boards, including Central Health, are taking to balance the books is simply not working – not for the patients and not for the staff.”

NAPE is calling on the Minister of Health to review decisions like this being made by the health boards to ensure that patient care and safety are not being compromised in the name of efficiency.

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