The union representing licensed practical nurses and resident care workers on P.E.I. says some members are disheartened by comments made regarding cuts to registered nurse positions in addictions care.

Debbie Bovyer - custom

The hiring of more licensed practical nurses and resident care workers in place of registered nurses has created some tension in the workplace, says UPSE president Debbie Bovyer. (CBC)

Last week Health PEI confirmed that under its new model of care 4.5 RN positions in mental health and addictions at the Prince County Hospital and at the Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility in Mount Herbert would be eliminated. At the same time, an extra 5.7 licensed practical nurses and 5.5 resident care workers will be added to staff.

The P.E.I. Nurses Union and opposition politicians have expressed concerns about highly experienced nurses being removed from those units.

Debbie Bovyer, president of the P.E.I. Union of Public Sector Employees, which represents LPNs and RCWs, said the new model of care has already rolled out smoothly in several other health care facilities in the province, and the public has nothing to fear.

"Their quality of care is not going to decrease. There are going to be more bodies out in those units. I don't see the quality of care decreasing," said Bovyer.

"LPNs and RCWs work under the direction of, in most cases when they are on a unit, under the direction of an RN. So decreasing the quality of care? I don't see that as being factual."

Bovyer said the elimination of RN positions and the hiring of more of her members has caused some tension in the workplace. She said the union is closely monitoring the situation and is stepping in when needed.

The province has said it is not laying off any registered nurses, but they are being redistributed throughout the health care system.