April 14, 2016

Budget Sets the Stage for Health Care Cuts

St. John’s, NL – The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador (RNU) is concerned the Provincial Government’s Budget 2016 is setting the stage for cuts in health care.

“Government put forward a harsh Budget today,” said Debbie Forward, President of RNU. “Just seven months ago, Premier Ball stood in front of RNs at our Election Panel and declared that health care cannot be tied to the price of oil. He committed to innovation, human resource planning, no health care job cuts and no privatized services in health care delivery.”

RNU is fearful of what has yet to come. Today’s budget included announcements of significant public service layoffs and a reduction in funding for Regional Health Authorities by an average of 1.7%, the implications of which are still unknown. The fall budget is set to focus on cutting public expenditures with department reorganizations and consolidation of functions. It will also focus on program reviews to find efficiencies and explore the use of privatization.

“RNU will continue to press hard for evidence-informed decision-making in health care,” said Forward. “Now more than ever, health care needs strong leadership and a government up to the task of improving care delivery and fixing the system. My members are very concerned for the quality of care they are able to provide their patients due to the challenges of high workload and understaffing. RNs do not want to see the system collapse or handed off to private interests.”

RNU made a submission to the Government Renewal Initiative to ensure evidence-informed recommendations that produce quality nursing care while reducing health system expenditures are considered first and foremost.

“It is critical to share registered nurse frontline expertise with government because RNs know that a slash and burn approach to health care budgets can actually increase costs and increase demand on the system,” said Forward. “RNs are very concerned about what is in store for health care, but if the plan creates gaps in the system that our patients will fall through, we will push back.”

The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador represents more than 5,500 registered nurses working in acute care, long-term care, community, education and research.

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For more information please contact:
Kristian Styles
RNU Communications Specialist