Morale suffering, patients at risk and 76 per cent of health workers fear job loss — HEU poll

News release

Year-end survey paints grim picture of health care’s front lines

Health care workers are demoralized, worried about patient safety and they’re forgoing major consumer purchases because of job insecurity, according to a year end survey commissioned by the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Three out of four union members polled say morale on health care’s front lines has deteriorated. More than half are often or almost always physically or mentally stressed at the end of the workday.

And 90 per cent agree that with the way things are going in health care, serious mistakes will be made that will harm or kill patients.

The results are contained in a comprehensive McIntyre and Mustel telephone survey of 500 HEU members conducted during the first week of December, 2002. The results are considered accurate to within 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

And the poll results show that the radical surgery being carried out by the B.C. Liberals on the health care system aren’t just affecting patients. Seventy-six per cent of respondents say that in the current climate of cuts, closures and privatization their jobs aren’t safe. And 82 per cent say that they are forgoing major consumer purchases because of that uncertainty.

“Campbell’s extreme agenda for health care has come home to roost and the consequences aren’t just limited to patients and health care workers,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “The chaos and uncertainty in health care is bad for business.

“Whether you’re selling cars in Cranbrook or TVs in Terrace, Campbell’s cutbacks are hurting your bottom line.” Allnutt says he’ll make business groups aware of the poll’s findings.

Meanwhile, Allnutt says that 82 per cent of union members give their union positive marks for its efforts to protect members’ jobs and protect public health care by actively opposing the B.C. Liberal government policies.

 

-MORE-

Here are the questions (500 respondents in total):

Over the past year has staff morale in your workplace improved a lot, improved a little, stayed about the same, worsened a little, or worsened a lot?

IMPROVED A LOT

IMPROVED A LITTLE

STAYED ABOUT THE SAME

WORSENED A LITTLE

WORSENED A LOT

DON’T KNOW

TOTAL IMPROVED

TOTAL WORSENED

9 (1.8%)

21 (4.3%)

80 (16.1%)

133 (26.7%)

248 (49.6%)

8 (1.5%)

31 (6.1%)

381 (76.3)

 

How often, if at all, do you end your workday feeling either mentally or physically stressed — almost always, often, occasionally, rarely, or never?

ALMOST ALWAYS

OFTEN

OCCASIONALLY

RARELY

NEVER

DON’T KNOW

TOTAL OFTEN/ALWAYS

TOTAL RARELY/NEVER

147 (29.5%)

119 (23.8%)

156 (31.2%)

47 (9.4%)

29 (5.8%)

1 (0.2)

266 (53.3%)

76 (15.2%)

 

The way things are going in health care, serious mistakes will be made that will harm or kill patients.

STRONGLY AGREE

AGREE

DISAGREE

STRONGLY DISAGREE

DON’T KNOW

TOTAL AGREE

TOTAL DISAGREE

291 (58.1%)

158 (31.5%)

35 (7.1%)

9 (1.8%)

7 (1.4%)

448 (89.7%)

45 (8.9%

 

In the current climate of cuts, closures and privatization, I think my job is safe.

STRONGLY AGREE

AGREE

DISAGREE

STRONGLY AGREE

DON’T KNOW

TOTAL AGREE

TOTAL DISAGREE

31 (6.2%)

77 (15.4%)

174 (34.8%)

206 (41.1 %)

12 (2.5%)

108 (21.5%)

380 (76.0%)

 

The uncertainty I’m feeling about losing my job means that my family or me will forgo major consumer purchases.

STRONGLY AGREE

AGREE

DISAGREE

STRONGLY DISAGREE

DON’T KNOW

TOTAL AGREE

TOTAL DISAGREE

258 (51.7%)

129 (25.8%)

71 (14.3%)

30 (6.0%

11 (2.1%)

388 (77.5%)

102 (20.3%

 

HEU has done a good job trying to protect its members’ jobs and to defend public health care by actively opposing the B.C. Liberal government.

STRONGLY AGREE

AGREE

DISAGREE

STRONGLY DISAGREE

DON’T KNOW

TOTAL AGREE

TOTAL DISAGREE

140 (27.9%)

268 (53.7%)

60 (11.9%)

22 (4.3%)

11 (2.1%)

408 (81.6%)

81 (16.3%)

 

-30-

Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)