Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't take on Nurses

The toughest, hardest working people in healthcare, as anyone with any exposure to the system knows, are the nurses who hold the system together with hard work, hard won skill and a tough minded willingness to get elbow deep in messes the rest of us would faint at the sight of.

Since being recruited from the two-tier Australian system and becoming Grand Poobah of the Alberta Healthcare system Alberta Health Services CEO Stephen Ducket has engaged in a war of nerves with nurses and has been denigrating the job they do with ignorant statements just this side of open contempt, trying to muzzle criticism and attempting to intimidate front line healthworkers into silence. They can't muzzle other public workers though, like the Chief of Edmonton's police service who's worried that AHS cut backs will lead to dangerous results.

Now the government is even blocking access to the United Nurses Website from any health services computer, a move reminiscent of Telus's attempts to block access to their union's website to all their Internet customers. Faced with scrutiny of the censorship, AHS started retreating immediately, unconvincingly blaming 'server trouble'.

The nurses and other health workers have filed formal complaints over blatant attempts to intimidate and muzzle them. Ducket picked the wrong people to try to bully.

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