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February 12, 2003

Nancy Lawrence
Communications Consultant
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 77642

London Health Sciences Centre reports "business as usual" for Thursday, Feb. 13

(LONDON, Ontario) - In light of Tuesday's Ontario Labour Relations Board decision that the planned Day of Action on Feb. 13 by OPSEU is illegal, London Health Sciences Centre now expects OPSEU represented staff to abide by this ruling, report to work as scheduled and meet the healthcare needs of those patients with appointments on Thursday.

"We will not be canceling elective surgeries and patients are to come to hospital as scheduled," states Brian Orr, Vice President Human Resources and Community Relations at LHSC. "Given that we will not know actual staffing levels until tomorrow morning, we will be contacting surgical patients today to inform them that there may be delays and perhaps even last minute cancellations should required staff not report to work Thursday as scheduled."

LHSC will be monitoring the situation closely throughout the day Thursday at all three sites. Any patient volume adjustments required will be managed by the patient care team from the program area.

"We recognize that this entire situation has created undue stress for our patients and we do regret that they have had to deal with such uncertainty," adds Orr.

In anticipation of the illegal strike, LHSC did proceed earlier this week with rescheduling some diagnostic and cardiac procedures originally booked for Thursday. Patients affected have already been contacted. Therefore, if you have not already been contacted by the hospital about your appointment, please arrive at your scheduled time on Thursday.

"Our primary concern has always been patient safety and we were not confident that we could provide safe patient care in the midst of significant staffing shortages in the event that OPSEU proceeded with its planned illegal job action," says Orr.

"Now that the Labour Board has issued its ruling, we are confident that our OPSEU represented staff will fulfill their obligations to the patients, their employer, and their profession."

LHSC encourages both the Ontario Hospital Association and OPSEU to work diligently towards reaching an agreement so that patient care is not disrupted again during these contract negotiations.