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KINGSTON – The leader of a union local that represents nurses at the VON will be meeting with MPP John Gerretsen tomorrow (Friday, Oct.5) to tell him that recent government funding cutbacks to home care will mean fewer nurses in Kingston and across Ontario.

Nurses are already looking for work elsewhere because the lack of funding has led to nurses’ shifts being cancelled,” says Susan Balog, a community nurse with 15 years experience and the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3932. ” The recent cuts in admissions to the CCAC and consequently the community nursing agencies are resulting in a dramatic decrease in the amount of work available to community nurses. On any given day there are as many as six or seven nurses cancelled from their shifts. Many are applying for other jobs because they are losing income and job security.”

The province seems bound and determined to repeat the same mistakes in the community as it did in hospitals,” says Balog. “When nurses disappear from the community workforce there will be an even greater nursing shortage. The Minister of Health for our province needs to be aware that inadequate funding for CCACs results in frail, elderly, ill and dying citizens going without the care they need.“

Registered nurses and registered practical nurses in the community nursing sector work in all kinds of weather, in all sorts of dangerous situations, often late into the night on dark and unsavoury streets for about 25 per cent less pay than their hospital counterparts.”

Susan Balog and a delegation of VON nurses will be urging Mr. Gerretsen to try to win more funding for community care. “We’ll be telling him we need this funding as soon as possible,” says Balog. “If we hope to retain the best nurses and give clients timely health care, the government must not delay.”

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Contact: Susan Balog, President CUPE 3932
(613) 386-3589.