Yvonne Jones, Opposition Health and Community Services Critic and MHA for
the District of Cartwright-LíAnse au Clair, says if government is truly
committed to the efforts of nurses, they must make a more substantial
investment in nursing resources and not just read fluffy Ministerial
Statements regarding Nursing Week in the House of Assembly.
"I want to
take this opportunity during Nursing Week to complement the nurses in our
province who work tirelessly on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and
Labradorians," said Ms. Jones. "While Health and Community Services Minister
Tom Osborne tries to paint the circumstances facing nurses as rosy, I can
certainly tell him that there are many challenges and gaps that exist in the
system that need to be addressed by this government.
"In our province today, there are a lack of mental health nurses,
especially in rural areas of our province. As many of our rural communities
face declining employment opportunities and difficult circumstances, many
people are struggling with stress and mental anguish. Oftentimes, it is the
mental health nurse who deals with these issues on a daily basis and acts as
the first contact for these people as they try to access health care
services. Unfortunately, as the workload is increasing, government is not
making the appropriate investment into strengthening these services. As a
result, these nurses are themselves being forced to take stress leave and
sick time for their own well-being.
"Government must also recognize the needs that exist at nursing homes
such as Hoyles-Escasoni in St. Johnís. While several licenced practical
nursing (LPN) positions have become vacant, government is not filling these
positions with full-time professionals. Instead, they are providing
temporary work to nurses. Some of these workers have been at the facility
for years without being made full-time even though the positions are vacant.
This is simply unacceptable and must be addressed.
"Minister Osborne may try to fool people into thinking that all is well
in our nursing profession, but I can assure the minister that he has much
work to do. Before he starts patting himself on the back and congratulating
himself, I suggest he look at the needs in the system and sufficiently
address these issues."