Your NPR news source

Nurses' Union Criticizes Lay-Offs

SHARE Nurses' Union Criticizes Lay-Offs

The union representing Cook County’s nurses say budget cuts are leading to longer waits for health care.

Sheilah Garland is with the National Nurses Organizing Committee. She says there’s already a nursing shortage in the Cook County system. And laying off some support staff that helps with things like sheet changes will make it worse.

GARLAND: When that’s gone, that just puts an even greater burden on that nurse. So the wait times become a little longer. The ability to get to our patients becomes a bit more compromised. So the county is really putting everybody into a very difficult situation.

Garland says the closure of several clinics will send more patients to the emergency room, and cost more in the long-run.

A spokesman for the county board president says there’s no appreciable difference in waiting times. He says officials are trying to maintain the most critical services, while keeping spending flat.

He says the government will restore services where it can.

The Latest