Nurse jobs in Cochrane and Airdrie safe for now

Alberta Health Services rescinded its decision Friday to lay off nurse practitioners at urgent care centres in Airdrie and Cochrane in southern Alberta.

AHS rescinds its decision to lay off nurse practitioners and will review staffing model

AHS says it needs a better understanding of the potential impact of its earlier decision. 2:54

Alberta Health Services rescinded its decision Friday to lay off nurse practitioners at urgent care centres in Airdrie and Cochrane.

Earlier in the day, nurse practitioners in the southern Alberta towns said they were optimistic their jobs would be saved after meeting with AHS on Thursday night in Airdrie.

AHS notified the urgent care clinics in Airdrie and Cochrane earlier this month that the nurse practitioner positions would be eliminated in order to save money.

In a written statement, AHS says it needs a better understanding of the potential impact of its earlier decision.

"The Jan. 14 memo to the UCC nurse practitioners has been rescinded. We recognize that a more detailed analysis of the care needs and staffing model should have been done earlier in the process, before the decision was made and announced," read the statement from Dr. Francois Belanger, senior vice-president and zone medical director, and Brenda Huband, senior vice-president.

"We apologize to the physicians, nurse practitioners, staff and to the communities for the confusion."

The statement also indicates AHS will complete its review in 60 days.

Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson says consultation should happen before these decisions are made.

"[AHS] jumped the gun in this case, obviously, but full credit where credit is due," Anderson said.  

"They came when a ruckus was raised, they saw, they assessed, they realized that they made a mistake and they rescinded the order."

Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown also sees this as good news.

"We're probably one of the larger populations in all of Alberta that don't have access within our community to 24-hour health care and that's really ... why [we were found] to need 24-hour health care," Brown said.

Dr. Julian Kyne, the head of the Airdrie Urgent Care Centre, believes support from the staff has been crucial.

"I've been surprised all along by the enthusiasm of support from the staff in terms of addressing this and getting AHS to reconsider," said Kyne.