Jobs already being impacted in early plans for new adult mental health facility

“At this stage, we’re scrambling to get answers for our members because, once again, front-line workers and the unions that represent them have not been included in the planning and transition process.” — Jerry Earle, NAPE President

St. John’s (20 Jan. 2021) — Healthcare members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) were notified via memo last week that jobs would be impacted in the coming weeks and months as 40 beds are being transitioned into “community and LTC (long-term care)” as part of the process of moving to the New Adult Mental Health Addictions Facility (NAMHAF).

Changes causing anxiety during an already stressful time

“There are more questions than answers at this point, but we have members who are extremely concerned about what this means for them—and what could be next,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “Is this the tip of the iceberg in the transition to the new mental health facility?”

The memo outlines a plan to dwindle the number of geriatric transition beds from 40 to 0 by the end of this year. It is not yet known where these beds are going. The total impact on jobs across classifications is also not clear at this time, but it appears as if the number of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) will go from 25 (including current vacancies) to none by the end of this process. It also appears as if vacant positions will not be posted or filled. The total impact on patients and our mental health system is also unclear at this stage.

Scrambling to get answers

“We already have a crisis in long-term care. Transitioning more beds to our long-term care facilities will only add to the immense stress and strain that already exists there,” said Earle. “At this stage, we’re scrambling to get answers for our members because, once again, front-line workers and the unions that represent them have not been included in the planning and transition process.”

“It’s no good to have a shiny, new building if you don’t have the staff or services available to provide the mental health care the people of this province need and deserve,” said Earle.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE