As health workers protested outside the Nova Scotia legislature on Friday, the province’s Liberal majority government passed through a law slashing the number of district authorities and bargaining units in the healthcare system. The Health Authorities Act cuts the number of bargaining units from 50 to four and the number of health authorities from 10 to two.
The government and Nova Scotia’s four healthcare unions have until Friday to come to agreement on a mediator who will be in charge of assigning representation to the bargaining units.
In the meantime, leaders of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and the Canadian Nurses Unions held a roundtable briefing on safe staffing, patient safety and quality care with federal, provincial and territorial health ministers. The unions’ plan was based on four central priorities:
1) Empowering patients and the public through education
2) Supporting nursing students and nurses
3) Promoting evidence-based staffing practices
4) Promoting strong nursing leadership
“For the long term, it’s vital that our healthcare system become more open, transparent and accountable,” University of British Columbia School of Nursing Associate Professor Maura MacPhee said in a statement. MacPhee, the author of the recent report Valuing Patient Safety, made a presentation at the roundtable. “Healthcare providers, patients, their families, and the public need to have information to influence and engage with healthcare decision makers; this is the foundation of the quality-safety agenda.”
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