A lunch-hour protest in Carbonear took Eastern Health to task for how it has managed staff at a pair of local health-care facilities.
Jerry Earle, president of the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (NAPE) union, spoke about the workers' concerns shortly before the group marched outside Carbonear General Hospital and Pte. Josiah Squibb Memorial Pavilion Wednesday afternoon.
At issue was the use of part-time personal-care attendants at both facilities. According to Earle there are approximately 40 such positions between the two facilities.
"It's unacceptable when you have 40 in a single classification only scheduled to work part-time hours," he said. "The work is there, the need is there, and it has to be addressed."
While he would accept there being a need for some use of part-time and casual labour within the health-care system, Earle does not believe the levels at which it's being used in Carbonear at the two facilities is warranted.
Earle and a local union representative met with Eastern Health management in St. John's at the NAPE office earlier in the day. The union leader said another meeting planned for Friday, July 19, would likely involve some front-line staff as well.
He added government has a role to play still in providing sufficient funding to staff facilities like the ones in Carbonear.
"I send this message clearly to the (health) minister and the premier saying we have to address the concerns that's happening in health care. This is just another symptom of a system that's on the eve of crisis," Earle said.