Picket is latest action in ongoing campaign to fight off dangerous cuts to both staff and patient care services; comes two weeks after jam-packed community forum
Less than two weeks after holding a successful public forum where concerned citizens, union leaders, and public officials came out in force to voice their concerns over Leominster Hospital’s dangerous plan to eliminate nursing staff and merge key patient services, the hospital’s MNA/NNU nurses have announced they will hold an informational picket on Wednesday, November 12 from 2 to 4 p.m.
The picket is the latest effort in the nurses’ ongoing fight to have management reverse its short-sighted decisions to cut nursing staff, increase nurses’ patient assignments and merge services, decisions that were made only for the purposes of increasing revenue in an already profitable hospital.
What: Picket to Protect Patient Care at Leominster Hospital
Where: 60 Hospital Road, Leominster MA
When: Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Who: An enthusiastic crowd of Leominster Hospital RNs, as well as friends, families, neighbors and supporters who are worried about patient care inside the hospital and who want to see the cuts reversed and services restored/maintained.
Background: Hospital management recently began laying off emergency department RNs as part of the dangerous cost-cutting plan it announced nearly six months ago. In addition to reducing RN staffing in the ED, the hospital plans to increase nurses’ patient assignments on the night shift from five to six, and to merge the pediatric, labor and delivery, and maternity units a first-of-its-kind move for a Massachusetts hospital and one that goes against what the professional standards for maternity and pediatric care show is best. Nurses are also concerned about how proposed cuts in support staff will affect the care of ED-based psychiatric patients. All of these changes will lead to longer wait times for patients, more boarding of patients, and the likelihood that a patient will suffer a complication because of these dramatic new delays in care.
Since these plans were announced in the spring, nurses have been unyielding in their efforts to get the hospital to reconsider its decisions: from meeting/negotiating with management and leafleting the community, to organizing a petition campaign and sitting down with elected officials. In response, Health Alliance CEO Deborah Weymouth has refused to meet with the nurses to hear their concerns and she has proceeded with the hospital’s plan, a plan the nurses believe will degrade the care for every patient entering the hospital.