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Unions hold health care rally outside Province House (3 photos)

Private and public unions came together Wednesday to demand the government act on what they're calling a growing health care crisis in Nova Scotia

Private and public unions came together outside Province House Wednesday to demand the government act on what they're calling a growing health care crisis in Nova Scotia.

Despite heavy rain and high winds, close to a hundred union members gathered outside the legislature to say the health care system is at a breaking point.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union said structural changes in the system have made the situation worse.

The union's president, Jason MacLean, would like to see Premier Stephen McNeil and Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey shadow emergency department workers so they can get a first-hand look at the challenges they face on the job.

"Patient safety is at risk and ultimately somebody is going to die," he said. "I would like them to put a strategy in place to fix primary care right now, to fix patient flow."

"We have people that get stuck in emerg or stuck in a hospital that can't go to a long term care bed, that can't go to home care because there's not enough workers."

The head of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour also attended the rally and said the goal is not just to stand up for health care workers, but for all Nova Scotians.

"We say it's time to bring the union leaders and others to the table to start and have a discussion about how we head down a different path, in particular around issues of recruitment and retention, and to provide the services that Nova Scotians have come to expect," Danny Cavanagh said.

Michael Nickerson said the decisions of successive governments led to this point, but it's the Liberals who now have power to bring everyone together to discuss the problems and start coming up with solutions.

"Premier McNeil, meet with your labour unions, meet with us, meet with your front line health care workers," said the president of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 727. "Let's brainstorm and try and fix the problems we have."

The unions hoped by gathering together, they'd present a loud and clear message.

Amber LeBrun

About the Author: Amber LeBrun

Following a few years working in finance and insurance, Amber LeBrun is happy to be back following her passion for news and radio.
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