Cuts to the number of registered nurses at P.E.I.'s Provincial Addictions facility in Mount Herbert are coming at a bad time, says the P.E.I. Nurses Union.
Under the province's new Model of Care, registered nurses are being moved and replaced with more licensed practical nurses and resident care workers. The registered nurses are moved to other positions in the health care system.
The latest shuffle is seeing RNs cut from the addictions facility and Prince County Hospital in Summerside.
Nurses Union president Mona O'Shea told CBC News her union finds the news of the latest RN cuts shocking in light of government's recent focus on improving mental health and addictions services in the province.
"To me at this crucial time in our environment when mental health is number one for our government," said O'Shea.
It's unbelievable to think that they are reducing the current number of registered nurses, which just doesn't make sense to us."
Rick Adams, executive director of innovation at Health PEI, acknowledges the cuts, but said that under the new model patients will see more health care workers on the job.
"The positions at [Prince County Hospital], there is a reduction in RN positions of 2.4. That is full time equivalent positions. And at the treatment facility it's 2.1," said Adams.
"So overall between the two facilities the reduction in RN positions is 4.5. But the addition to LPNs across the two facilities is 5.7 and in patient care, resident care worker, positions the increase is 5.5."
The government maintains that the new model of care provides better care for patients. The Nurses Union believes cutting the number of registered nurses is purely a cost saving measure.