THUNDER BAY - Officials at a local hospital do not believe changes to its staffing model will end with layoffs.
St. Joseph's Hospital has 63 people waiting to get into long-term care homes in the city. Registered practical nurses have been staffing the hospital's long-term floor, but St. Joseph's Care group has decided to eliminate 11 of those positions and replacing them with personal support workers.
"If those clients moved tomorrow to a long-term care home bed ,if there were beds available then they would be cared for by PSWs," president and CEO Tracy Buckler said.
Buckler said the change is best for the client and will also save the organization around $150,000 a year. She said St. Joseph's Care Group has a responsibility to provide cost effective care but is also obligated to have a balanced budget.
A labour adjustment committee will work to find positions for the RPNs elsewhere in the hospital.
"We have vacancies throughout our hospital site so we're working of course with the union," Buckler said.
That, along with attrition and retirement over the next year as the plan is gradually laid out, should mean no one will be laid off.
"We'll work with the union to avoid that possibility," Buckler said.
Unifor, which represents the RPNs, was contacted but did not provide comment.