Services at hospitals returning to normal after CUPE, employers reach settlement

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - Services are starting to return to normal at health care centres throughout Colchester East Hants after an agreement was reached by unionized employees.
The strike lasted two hours early Monday morning before the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations, representing the health authorities outside Halifax, reached a negotiated settlement with the help of a conciliator.
The Colchester East Hants Health Authority had already implemented its contingency plan with about half of its employees prepared to hit the picket line.
A number of elective surgeries were cancelled while about 150 appointments scheduled for Monday were cancelled, including, X-rays, EKGs, outpatient department procedures, urology services and more. It also resulted in the closure of the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital in Tatamagouche.
"The health-care system is complex and requires some time to make change," said authority chief executive officer Peter MacKinnon. "We worked to reduce services in a planned, phased approach and will be restoring services gradually, but as quickly as possible."
Blood/specimen collection services at Colchester Regional Hospital resumed Monday and other appointments and clinics scheduled for Tuesday will continue as usual. The authority said individuals whose appointments were cancelled Monday will be contacted to rebook.
Other appointments and clinics scheduled for Tuesday will continue as usual at Colchester Regional Hospital and the East Hants Resource Centre sites.
Surgical procedures tentatively scheduled for this week are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will resume Tuesday. Patients are being notified.
At the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital in Tatamagouche, blood collection had resumed by 10 a.m. Monday and X-ray services were available by the afternoon. Nursing staff redeployed to Colchester Regional Hospital returned to Tatamagouche and the emergency department was expected to reopen later in the day when staff was back on site. Inpatients that were relocated will begin returning to the facility later today.
CUPE represents about 480 members in the district, including clerical and administrative, shipping/receiving, health records, materials management, mental health outpatient services, pharmacy services, laboratory, rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging, maintenance and housekeeping, sterilization/reprocessing services, cardio-respiratory services, dietary services and diabetes education.

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Colchester Regional Hospital, Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital in Tatamagouche Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations Colchester East Hants Health Authority East Hants Resource Centre

Geographic location: Colchester East, Hants, Halifax Tatamagouche

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