OPSEU members say they’ll continue to fight the move of 31 mental health beds from North Bay to Sudbury despite refusal by Health Minister Deb Matthews to budge on the issue.
A local advocacy committee called it quits after being unable to persuade the Local Health Integration Network or Queen’s Park that this was a poor decision. The group had met with the health minister on Friday.
The unified labour-business-municipal group had argued the decision would eliminate 64 jobs in North Bay, incur considerable costs, and uproot patients currently residing in those beds.
“It’s not as though we just didn’t like the decision to move these patients from North Bay to Sudbury,” Sean Lawlor, the president of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, told the North Bay Nugget. “We had, and still do have, a list of serious concerns regarding the flawed process and the actual decision itself.”
Municipal politician said they were “sickened” and “flabbergasted” by a decision that appeared to have been made long before any consultation took place.
Muncipal Councillor Dave Mendicino, who served on the committee, said the health minister told them they should be grateful for the health care jobs they do have. The group says they were never given a satisfactory explanation for the move.
One nurse commented on the Nugget web site that the move saddened her heart. “For me it is the end of my 17 year career,” she wrote. “I can’t uproot my family and move to Sudbury. I feel for my patients and their families. Sadly a majority of those patients and their families live in North Bay. They have no voice and no one will listen.”