Some nurses say Kronos is not user-friendly and may actually be putting patients at risk. ((CBC))

Some nurses at hospitals in Halifax say a $1.6 million scheduling system is not working and may be putting patients at risk.

“Absolutely chaotic,” said Trish MacDonald describing the Kronos staff scheduling software. It was introduced to the Capital District Health Authority almost a year ago.

The seasoned registered nurse says despite the health authority’s claims, there’s nothing efficient about the new system.

“If I wanted time off then I would go through my manager and that time would be granted in a short period of time. Now with everything being done through the Kronos system, it's always a waiting game,” said MacDonald.

Employees are supposed to be able to use the system from home, but she says many of them are unable to access it.

Capital Health acknowledges there have been growing pains, but says it takes time to adjust to any large technology switch.

MacDonald says her bigger concerns centre on what she calls unsafe staffing levels. She points to one case where a co-worker’s unit was short staffed four days in a row.

“We can only work with the resources we're given and if I’m not given nurses then I’m not going to be able to provide patients with safe care,” she said.

Capital Health spokesman John Gillis says there have indeed been issues, but nothing major.

“Problems we've experienced include things like the manager's ability to see gaps in the schedule. They are kinks that need to be worked out over time,” he said.

Capital Health says it's looking at upgrades and changes to improve the system, which is now available to health authorities across the province.

Meanwhile, the union that represents the nurses, the NSGEU, is scheduled for three days of conciliation talks with the health district, starting on March 17.