‘No plan to cancel nurses vacation’: Manitoba Health Minister
Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon said her government is not cutting nurses’ vacations to staff more surgical staff as the province tries to clear a backlog of postponed surgeries.
“We have no intention of canceling nurses’ vacations,” Gordon said during Question Period on Tuesday, after being questioned by NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara.
The Manitoba Nurses Union said while the employer has not canceled summer vacation outright, it is hearing from members that fewer nurses will be allowed to take time off.
“After two very long and difficult years, this request has been yet another blow to morale,” UNM President Darlene Jackson said on Tuesday.
“The Minister of Health’s assurance is far from reassuring for nurses in Manitoba who have borne the brunt of poor pandemic planning. In fact, they have heard this rhetoric many times over the past two years and have lost faith.
The health minister told reporters in a scrum that Shared Health had worked with each site to increase completed surgical slates in the coming months.
“It’s based on projections of staff who will be available this summer,” Gordon said. “These plans are in place and will result in the completion of approximately 200 additional surgical slates this summer.”
Gordon then thanked “those who came forward and said very willingly that they wanted to help Manitobans get their surgeries over the summer. This will allow more people to have surgery and not have to suffer. »
Last week, the Minister of Health said the province plans to run surgical slates at 75-100% capacity during the summer months to catch up with the thousands of surgeries that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Surgical volumes typically drop to around 40% during the summer, as part of planned slowdowns to account for vacations for surgeons, nurses and other healthcare personnel.
Shared Health said Tuesday that to support this increased level of activity, changes have been made to vacation scheduling for healthcare workers in surgical programs regarding the number of people who can be on vacation at one time.
“To be clear, no vacations have been canceled and the number of vacations available to staff remains the same throughout the year,” Shared Health said in a statement.
The change translates to the number of employees being able to schedule vacations at any time more evenly distributed throughout the year, he said.
It also helps align the surgical unit’s vacation planning with other areas of the health care system, such as emergency, intensive care, medical services, various clinics and dialysis, Shared Health said.
In the meantime, Asagwara said nurses should not be asked to give up summer vacation.
“We know that nurses – many of whom are burnt out – are being asked to give up time with their families, to give up their vacations,” the former nurse told reporters during a melee.
“The Minister has had plenty of time to appropriately plan and invest in health care and staffing to ensure that the exhausted nurses who have worked so hard for two years during this pandemic can finally take pause.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people who call Manitoba home, Carol joined the office of the Legislative Assembly in early 2020.
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