RNs - Alberta

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AHS fast tracks hiring of 300 nurses

Glenn Cook, Saint Albert Gazette, July 23, 2011 Help is on the way for the Alberta health care system, as the provincial government is planning to hire 300 new full-time nurses within the next few weeks. That number is in addition to any nurses Alberta Health Services (AHS) would normally hire, and 100 of them are earmarked for the Edmonton region, including the Sturgeon Community Hospital in Saint Albert. Chief nursing officer Deb Gordon said AHS has taken a hard look at their projected workforce demand for the coming year and 300 new nurses - at a cost of $6.5 million - should be enough to take some of the pressure off existing staff. ... AHS

Calgary to get 132 hospital beds

Province says added capacity will limit waits in hallways. Jen Gerson, Calgary Herald, September 9, 2010 Patients stuffed into hallways and lounges in Calgary's crowded hospitals can expect some relief as more acute-care hospital beds were announced Wednesday. Alberta Health Services said it will open 132 new beds in three Calgary hospitals by winter at a cost of $15.7 million annually. Foothills Medical Centre, the Peter Lougheed Centre and Rockyview General Hospital will receive beds for a variety of purposes, including short-term convalescent care, dementia, palliative and hospice care and transition spaces for patients waiting for a community or home-based bed. ... Calgary

Province hires more nurses, opens more beds

Dave Will, Kevin Usselman, Glory Przekop & Lisa Grant, 660 News, September 8, 2010 Alberta Health Services says it will open 132 new beds in three Calgary hospitals this fall, but 70 surge capacity beds will close. Most of the new beds are pegged as transition care beds, along with a new 20-bed hospice at the Peter Lougheed Centre. 152 new part-time and full-time nurses will also be hired. 'When we announced a first-of-its-kind, five-year funding plan for health services in this year's budget, we wanted to see an immediate, positive impact on patient care," said Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Health and Wellness. ... Province

Tories deserve no credit for easing their own hospital bed crisis

Don Braid, Calgary Herald, September 9, 2010 Do the Tories really believe Albertans have the memories of fruit flies? Maybe so. Nothing else explains why they expect applause whenever they restore something they closed, tore down, or never opened in the first place. But so it was again Wednesday, as Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky announced 132 new beds for Calgary hospitals. These will replace 70 of the hilariously-named "over-complement beds" - more aptly known as hallway, lounge, or broom-closet beds. ... Tories

Hiring more nurses is a cause for celebration

Stephen Duckett, MD, Edmonton Journal, July 31, 2010 It is a strange day indeed when Alberta Health Services is criticized for committing to hire more than 1,100 new nurses. So perhaps some perspective is in order on what is actually a very positive step forward in realizing our goals of improving access, quality and sustainability in our health care system. Alberta Health Services made two key commitments under our recently signed collective agreement with the United Nurses of Alberta. First, that we would maintain the number of nurses and, secondly, that we would hire 70 per cent (the traditional proportion we hire) of the graduating class of nurses ... Hiring

Alberta patients pay for nursing flip-flop: Liberals

Province embarks on hiring spree after spending $24M to buy out nurses last year. Jodie Sinnema, Edmonton Journal, July 30, 2010 Edmonton - Alberta Health Services spent $24 million to eliminate nearly 450 nurses last year to save money during the recession, but will soon have to hire more than twice that many, the Alberta Liberals said. The constant flip-flop from nursing shortage in 2008 to nursing glut in 2009 and back to nursing shortage in 2010 mirrors a government struggling with long-term planning, said Liberal health critic Kevin Taft. ... Alberta

Opposition attacks Tories over buying out nurses

Clara Ho, Edmonton Sun, July 30, 2010 The Alberta Liberals are accusing the Tories of hurting health care quality by buying out 448 nurses and later committing to hiring 70% of nursing graduates each year for the next three years. An Alberta Liberal news release pointed to the 2009-10 Alberta Health Services consolidated financial statements that showed that 448 nurses were bought out at a cost of $23.6 million. But the government will hire back more than twice as many nurses as they've laid off, which the Liberals called "another confusing flip-flop from a government that's struggling to manage health care."  ... Opposition

Alberta nurses question large executive salaries and bonuses

Sandra Prusina, 660 News, July 9, 2010 Alberta Health Services is running a massive deficit and despite that executives earned $5.8 million in salary and bonuses in 2009. AHS President and CEO Stephen Duckett made a total of $744,000. Now, the United Nurses of Alberta is now wondering "why?" Heather Smith with the union tells CTV this revelation raises many questions, including on what basis was their performance even measured. Ed Stelmach says that although the numbers seem high, they are substantially lower than what other CEOs would earn in a year. He also says the province eliminated nine regional health boards in favour of one superboard and that is keeping administrative costs lower.

Victory for nurses

Edmonton Journal, July 3, 2010 It's all too rare that we read of cheering news on the Alberta health-care front, in spite of the fact that the system remains far better than we sometimes imagine it to be. So let's take this opportunity to congratulate all concerned on the new contract just signed by the United Nurses of Alberta and the provincial government. The last thing Albertans needed was a protracted battle between registered and psychiatric nurses - key front-line workers - and Alberta Health Services. A certain collective fatigue has set in over the constant wrangling in the realm, and it's a relief to mark an occasion underlined by co-operation and quiet, un-fevered negotiation. ... Victory

Nurses ratify three-year deal

Ryan Tumilty, Saint Albert Gazette, July 3, 2010 Alberta Health Services inked a new three-year deal with the province’s 24,000 nurses after union members ratified the agreement Wednesday night. The deal will give the nurses a six per cent raise over the three years, with no increase this year, two per cent in the second and four per cent in the final year. Dr. Stephen Duckett, CEO of AHS said the agreement is good for everyone involved. “I think it is a responsible deal. I think the United Nurses of Alberta took a very responsible position. It is a good deal for nurses, a good deal for patients and a good deal for taxpayers.” ... Nurses

Nurses' contract touted as salve for health care

Jason van Rassel, Calgary Herald, July 2, 2010 The new contract for Alberta's registered nurses is being hailed as a shot in the arm for the health-care system and patients. The three-year deal includes wage increases totalling six per cent, but provisions that guarantee jobs for hundreds of nursing graduates and bolster job security will benefit everyone who uses or works in the health-care system, Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky said Thursday. "This isn't just about the money," he said. The contract includes a promise by the province to hire 70 per cent of Alberta's nursing graduates for the duration of the deal, which could work out to 1,300 new nurses ... Nurses

Province, nurses union sign new three-year deal

Contract reflects 'economic realities of the day'. Edmonton Journal, July 1, 2010 Edmonton - The province and the United Nurses of Alberta have ratified a new three-year contract covering the province's 24,000 registered nurses. The contract agreement, reached late Wednesday, provides no salary increase this year, a two-per-cent increase in 2011 and a four-per-cent increase in 2012. "The contract also begins to address nurses' biggest concern, which is adequate and safe nurse staffing," said UNA president Heather Smith. ... Province

24,000 Alberta registered nurses approve three-year contract

Canadian Press, June 30, 2010 Edmonton - Members of the union that represents 24,000 registered nurses in Alberta have voted in favour of a new contract. The United Nurses of Alberta had been recommending acceptance of a three-year deal recommended by a mediator. The agreement calls for a wage freeze in the first year, a two per cent "productivity" payment in the second year and a four per cent wage increase in the third year. Alberta Health Services has also agreed to hire 70 per cent of nursing graduates - which would amount to more than new 700 RNs in the first year of the contract. ... 24,000

No wage freeze for Alberta nurses: health board

CBC News, June 30, 2010 As Alberta nurses vote on a three-year contract Wednesday, the head of Alberta Health Services is downplaying suggestions of a future wage freezes for its employees. As Alberta nurses vote on a three-year contract Wednesday, the head of Alberta Health Services is downplaying suggestions of a future wage freezes for its employees. The new agreement with the United Nurses of Alberta calls for no wage hike this year, a two per cent raise based on productivity next year and four per cent increase in 2013. Stephen Duckett, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, said the board's $11.2 billion budget passed Tuesday takes into account any wage increases negotiated ... No

Health unions fear pay freeze

Superboard unveils $11B budget today. Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald, June 29, 2010 As health unions worry about the prospect of a wage freeze, the boss of Alberta Health Services is promising "far fewer difficult decisions" in the superboard's $11-billion budget, which will be revealed today. In a public board meeting scheduled in Calgary today, the service will unveil its budget and business plan that will signal its intentions for the coming year. Today's budget is the first since the province promised a cash infusion for the health system, writing off the service's deficit - which had climbed to $1.3 billion - and boosting its share of the budget ... Health

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