Union worried about another round of cuts at New Horizons

Another proposed round of cuts at the New Horizons care home in Campbell River is raising concerns once again about the level of care that can be provided by staff, according to the union representing them.

“We’re being told there will be yet another reduction in hours and entirely new shifts for staff starting in January,” says Hospital Employees Union (HEU) Communications Officer Neil Monckton. “We went through those reductions with a fine-toothed comb and found somewhere around 270 hours were being cut under that plan,” he says, adding that number is only the “direct care” staff, such as nurses and care workers.

It doesn’t include custodial or administrative staff, for example.

“That’s not going to be good for anyone,” he says.

“It’s not going to be a positive for the 96 residents, and it’s not going to be a positive for the staff. You can’t deliver the same level of service in less time. It’s just not realistic.”

Monckton says HEU has represented the staff at New Horizons since 2008 – except for during the period when they were non-union after the purchase of the facility by Park Place before the staff voted to re-unionize – and turnover rate at New Horizons over the past two years has been around 60 per cent, which is troubling.

“And this will only increase that issue,” Monckton says.

The town hall meeting scheduled for Monday night (Nov. 30) from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Campbell River Seniors’ Centre in the Campbell River Common will feature family members of residents speaking about their concerns, as well as presentations by Kim Slater, chair of Vancouver Island Family Councils, Lois Jarvis, co-chair of Campbell River’s Citizens for Quality Healthcare, and Jennifer Whiteside, secretary and business manager of the HEU.

For more information about the town hall meeting, contact Monckton at nmonckton@heu.org.