Cuts at Almonte General Hospital

sunshine-list
Photo courtesy of CBC website

With the latest release of the 2015 Sunshine List, which details those Ontario Government Employees earning more than $100K per year, and all the latest restructuring news from AGH, I thought I would do a quick analysis of what the cost savings of cutting 10 Registered Practical Nurses and replacing them with 11 less qualified Personal Support Workers (5 full time and 6 part-time).

I would calculate that the cost savings in replacing those nurses to be around $300K per year (assuming a PSW makes $20K less per year, and the part-timers work half the hours).  The cost INCREASE to us  to pay for the individuals on the Sunshine list from last year is $314K per year.  The total cost for us taxpayers to pay for those on the Sunshine list last year was a whopping $1.4 million (to pay for 12 people).  In a recent article in the EMC, Mary Wilson Trider made a point of correcting a nurse who mentioned there were 10 people on the 2014 Sunshine list, to state there were actually only 9.  I find it interesting that days later the 2015 Sunshine list is released to show the number is actually 12, an increase of 3 from the previous year.  Would Ms. Trider Wilson not have been aware of what AGH submitted to the province for this PUBLIC report, before correcting a nurse in a newspaper?

Since 2011, the year the new CEO started at the hospital, the number of people on the Sunshine list has increased by 5, for a total cost of $535K for those individuals plus raises for those already on the list.  In 1999 there was one person on the list, in the 15 years since the costs have increased by over $1.2M yearly to pay for 11 new members to the list.

Of course, this analysis does not take into account all those managers making just below $100K per year, and therefore their salaries are not required to be reported publicly.  Who knows how many additional managers have been hired and what all their additional salaries add up to!

Since we are talking about a Hospital, a place where sick people go to get well, one has to wonder why the front line staff are being cut and replaced by less qualified individuals in order to save funds (or in this case to pay the salary increases to the upper management team).   However,  there appears to be no cuts whatsoever to the administration of the hospital whose costs are increasing significantly year over year.  Personally, if I am admitted to hospital, I would like to have a nurse there caring for me rather than knowing that there are now less nurses to provide care in order to pay the ever increasing costs of management in the hospital.  

Front line staff should be the very last people looked at when facing cuts in a hospital setting, not the first ones as was the case in Almonte.

Greg Jones