As always, Nov. 11 is a special day in the lives of so many of us who pause to reflect, remember and thank the courageous women and men who sacrificed for us and gave us this safe country in which we can be free. How noble! How wonderful! Thank you.
And yet, I have also learned recently that 90 unionized health care workers who are employed at the George Derby Centre, a nursing home for veterans in Burnaby, B.C. have been given their notice and will no longer be employed as of April 2013. This is a group of residents that have given everything for this country and management believes that it is in their best interests to take away special and professional relationships with their caregivers, many of whom have been employed with the centre for 20 years.
While I understand in times of worrisome economics that Fraser Health would like to save money by abandoning their caring staff in order to hire contract staff, who will have no loyalty or allegiance to the centre, let alone benefits, it is abhorrent to not consult with staff, residents and their families. I work in health care in another province and am aware of the bottom line, but you can never replace a figure on the meaningfulness, attentiveness and kindness of the George Derby staff in their daily work.
It has become easy practice in budget uncertainty to lay off trusted staff, but it does not account for the reliability and dependability of long-term staff and the comfort and reassurance that it brings to family and friends.
It is time to take a stand and do the right thing - not to disrupt seamless and excellence in care; our continuous thanks to our veterans by allowing them to continue to work with those that they are well acquainted with and trust; and to lobby our governments in obtaining the money necessary to provide the kind of care that we can be proud of.
We all saw the photo ops over the weekend with government officials and veterans, but it is not good enough to pat yourself on the back one day of the year.
Funding for this centre comes from provincial and federal pockets and we know that there is money in the system to provide care with dignity to our veterans and their families who gave so much to all of us.
Linda B. Fischer , by email