Nurses union files grievance with AHS over lack of guidance on new site restrictions

The United Nurses of Alberta has filed a province-wide grievance against Alberta Health Services alleging the health authority has provided no direction to staff on how they can comply with an order from the chief medical officer of health that takes effect tomorrow. 

The order from Dr. Deena Hinshaw limits health care staff who work at long-term care centres to one site. The measure was put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable older people in long-term care. 

David Harrigan, labour relations director for the UNA, says the order applies to all facilities under the nursing home act and all auxiliary hospitals. The problem, he says, is that many acute care hospitals are also designated nursing homes or auxiliary hospitals. 

Harrigan says the union has been seeking answers from AHS and Alberta for days but haven’t received an answer. 

He says members are calling the UNA worrying about what they should do tomorrow. He says many nurses work at different sites in the system. 

“The nurse who works in the emergency department at Leduc (General Hospital) is she permitted to work elsewhere or if she has another job, does she have to stop working there because technically Leduc is an auxiliary hospital,” Harrigan said. 

The grievance alleges AHS is acting unfairly and unreasonably by not providing guidance and by “misapplying and misinterpreting” Hinshaw’s order. 

The UNA is concerned that without clarity, the order could cause staffing shortages across the province. 

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