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VON Sudbury closes it doors after 82 years

BY CRAIG GILBERT [email protected] The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) - Sudbury Branch closed its doors this week, but the knockout blow was dealt over two years ago.

The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) - Sudbury Branch closed its doors this week, but the knockout blow was dealt over two years ago.

That?s according to Joanna Taylor, the now-resigned president of the VON Sudbury board of directors.

In 2002, VON Sudbury was underbid by Bayshore Healthcare services for a visiting nursing contract worth millions of dollars. Taylor says VON Sudbury, whose 450 employees have now been transferred to the Manitoulin-Sudbury Community Care Access Centre (MSCCAC), never recovered.

The value of that contract, which VON Sudbury had for three years prior to 2002, paid for salaries, other expenses and infrastructure costs.

?There was a lot of anger and animosity at that time,? she said. ?That may be what you remember.?

VON Sudbury?s main line of work is providing quality home care.

There will not be any interruption in services, according to Taylor, since the MSCCAC funded the home nursing program to begin with, and they have the infrastructure to absorb the hundreds of nurses who work directly for them now.

And, since the nurses go directly from their homes to their clients? residences, there won?t be much of a visible change in the community, either.

?I have a neighbour who receives home care,? Taylor said. ?She told me she got a letter and a phone call about the change, but it?s the same person coming around.?

Five full-time staff were laid off in the Sudbury office, and another three or four part-timers were laid off in foot care programs in outlying areas.

The rest will simply see a different anagram on their pay stubs, at least until November when the home care contract runs out.

That?s when the MSCCAC will start accepting bids for the contract, and the nurses will have to re-apply to whoever gets it if they want a job.

?It?s pretty chaotic right now,? Taylor said of the relatively new ?managed competition process? for nursing work contracts. ?It really had an impact on the whole agency.?

But, there has been very little impact on services, and that took a lot of hard work over the last month to ensure, she said.

The personal support and homemaking program which involves home visits by VON nurses, has been transferred back to the MSCCAC.

The VON?s other programs were transferred by the Ministry of Health to the VON Canada Ontario branch in Sudbury. The Espanola community support programs and the Manitoulin Island seniors outreach programs will also be administered by VON Canada Ontario branch.

Supportive housing home-making services at 720 Bruce St. (Balmoral), 1920 Paris St. (The Tower) and 111 Larch St. (St. Andrew?s Place) will continue with no disruption in service.

The Adult Day Centre and the Nurse Practitioners Wellness Clinic on Elm St. will also continue to operate uninterrupted.

The resignation of the entire board of directors ends what has been 82 years of providing nursing services by the VON Sudbury Branch in this community.


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