Nova Scotia

Cape Breton health district to eliminate 53 jobs

The Cape Breton District Health Authority will eliminate 53 positions as it deals with a $7.4-million budget cut.

The Cape Breton District Health Authority will eliminate 53 positions as it deals with a $7.4-million budget cut.

John Malcom, the CEO of the health authority, said many of the positions will disappear through attrition.

"A lot of these positions are already gone because of vacancies and turnovers. We have 750 staff who are going to retire in five years so turnover is quite a common thing in our district," he told CBC News.

"We are trying to take advantage of that to the greatest extent and ideally, we would hope that no one would get laid off but we're not sure that we can make that commitment just yet."

Nova Scotia's nine district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax have been asked to cut spending in the next fiscal year by three per cent.

At $3.86 billion annually, health care is the province's largest expenditure, taking up about 40 per cent of its total budget.

In anticipation of the budget cuts, the Cape Breton District Health Authority commissioned a study to identify inefficiencies, said Malcom.

"We are reducing administrative staff, we'll be reducing a vice-president, we've reduced some administrative directors. So there's other managers who will be going as part of this plan," he said.

About $1 million will be saved through adjustments to the dietary program, which may mean reduced food selection.

Malcom said some effective cost-cutting can also be done in support services.

"We're looking at converting New Waterford from high pressure to low pressure steam, which no longer then requires 24-hour boiler plant operators," he said.

"Then, hopefully, being able to place those boiler plant operators at other sites in the district."

The Cape Breton District Health Authority's business plan for 2012-2013, approved by the province on Thursday, indicates the district will receive $845,000 less in funding this year.

Malcom said the health authority also has to absorb costs such as salary increases and higher utility costs in its total budget of approximately $270 million.

"All programs and services at all sites are being maintained, we're not cutting any direct patient care services at any site with this business plan," said Malcom.

Despite the elimination of jobs, the health district is expanding its dialysis, infection control and surgery services.

Corrections

  • The Cape Breton District Health Authroity initially said it had a $670 million budget. The actual figure is $270 million.
    May 11, 2011 5:13 AM AT

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