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(Halifax) The new single-entry system for accessing long term care could have a negative impact on workloads say nursing home support staff, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Almost 100 CUPE nursing home members met in Stellarton last week to discuss the impact of the provincial budget on wages and workloads, and to discuss strategies for bargaining in the fall.

While most nursing home workers are pleased that the budget has money for wage parity, CUPE staff rep Kelly Murray says they are worried about the implications of change as we move from a hospital-based system to community care.

The fact that we had such an enormous turnout for this meeting indicates a high level of concern for conditions of work, says Murray. Personal care workers are already experiencing high levels of work-related injuries and burnout, and theyre concerned about what kinds of new situations they may have to deal with, and whether or not staffing levels will be adequate. We need to ensure that the residents continue to get the best care possible.

Kelly adds that while concern for issues such as resident-staff ratios were paramount at the two-day meeting, there was also a measure of excitement that the government is finally taking a serious look at long-term care.

Were on the road to looking at long term care as a more serious component of health care, and people are excited about that.

CUPE represents some 3,000 personal care, dietary, laundry and maintenance workers at 37 nursing homes in the province.

For more information please call Kelly Murray at (902) 455-4180.