No job freeze: Liepert

Health Minister Ron Liepert insists there is no hiring freeze for nurses at Alberta Health Services.

Health Minister Ron Liepert insists there is no hiring freeze for nurses at Alberta Health Services.

“What there is is a directive from the new CEO that before any hiring takes place in the organization, it is going to be approved through his office,” said Liepert, who spoke at the Red Deer Rotary Club luncheon at the Red Deer Lodge on Monday.

“If nurses are needed, they’re going to be hired.”

He said Alberta Health Service CEO Stephen Duckett has put in the new review process for hiring staff to deal with a lack of hiring accountability.

The province has been on the defensive since Friday, when the United Nurses of Alberta raised the alarm that Alberta Health Services had eliminated hundreds of nurse job postings on its posting site.

The union says some nurses are being forced to work overtime or denied vacation because jobs are not being filled. The union is filing grievances.

Liepert said the impact isn’t as bad as the union wants Albertans to believe.

Fewer new nurses are needed with more nurses either delaying retirement or moving into full-time positions, from part-time or casual, because of the recession, he said.

The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta told him that 27 per cent of what nurses do on the job is non-nurse work and the review will help address this, he said.

“I think it’s a realignment of the workforce and at the end of the day it’s going to have the right people doing the job that they were trained to do.”

Jane Sustrik, second vice-president at United Nurses of Alberta, challenged Liepert’s comments.

A handful of nurses may be delaying retirement due to the recession. But more are staying on because of changes in some collective agreements, for example that allow them to spend time mentoring new nurses, she said.

“There are some retention strategies that we’ve got in place that are more appealing to some nurses to maybe stay in a little longer,” Sustrik said.

She also wondered how the full-time jobs Liepert that talks about are being filled.

“(Nurses) still have to apply to positions in order to do that and if (AHS) is postponing or cancelling or putting this chaotic review process in place, they’re not going to have the jobs to apply for.”

Sustrik said the lack of health-care staff overall means those who are left must do more. Nurses can’t get away from extra duties because other postings, like unit clerks and housekeeping, are going unfilled.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Open house on proposed addictions treatment centre to be held at former Red Deer nightclub

Community is invited to learn more about the $2-million project on May 2

Sri Lanka expats wait to reconnect amid social media block

NEW YORK — Viji Devadas hasn’t heard from her nephew in Sri… Continue reading

US expands probe into air bag failures to 12.3M vehicles

DETROIT — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning… Continue reading

New study suggests oilsands greenhouse gas emissions underestimated

New federal research suggests greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s oilsands may be… Continue reading

New commemorative loonie marking ‘progress’ for LGBTQ2 people to be unveiled today

TORONTO — The Royal Canadian Mint is unveiling a new commemorative loonie… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Sri Lankan-Canadians mourn victims of terrorist attack in their homeland

Sri Lankan-Canadians were gathering Monday to mourn those killed in a massive… Continue reading

Residents along Saint John River told to remain on alert as floodwaters rise

FREDERICTON — People who live along New Brunswick’s Saint John River are… Continue reading

Prince Edward Island voters to cast verdict on new electoral system

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are expected to learn late Tuesday whether the cradle… Continue reading

Most Read