Fixing long-term care workers’ conditions of work will improve conditions of care for residents, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “We would welcome the opportunity to
meet with Minister Haggie and to be part of a core staffing review. Hopefully, the review will include front-line workers, health policy and long-term care experts, and other stakeholders,” says CUPE Newfoundland Labrador President Sherry Hillier.
“If the provincial government is looking for ways to provide quality care, while reducing the cost of health care, one thing they must do is increase staffing levels. This will reduce the amount of workplace injuries, as well as the costs associated with time off and the use of
medical benefit plans,” says CUPE National Representative Donna Ryan.
“The current staffing shortage is creating an unsafe work environment. The risk to both staff and residents is unacceptable,” says Ryan.
CUPE is calling on the provincial government to:
- Increase staffing at all publicly-funded long-term care facilities to reach a minimum staff-to-patient ratio for direct care of 4.1 hours per patient per day, provided for LPNs, PCAs and all members of the care team
- Introduce financial support for LPN and PCA program students in the form of a bursary to cover the costs of tuition, books and living expenses, to be implemented in the 2020 academic year
- Increase wages and benefits for long-term care employees in order to attract and retain staff
“Also, if we want to have more workers to care for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living in long-term care; if we want more beds and shorter wait times – we must stop borrowing money at double or triple interest rates through public-private partnerships,” says Hillier. “We’re trapped in a cycle of paying off the debt created by past P3s and cutting public services, only to enter into even
more P3s. If we don’t end this cycle, we’ll never have all of the public services we need.”