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LETTERS: Time for premier, health minister to address B.C.’s nursing crisis

Editor:

An open letter to Premier John Horgan Health Minister Adrian Dix

I am writing to express my extreme frustration with the province’s health-care system and the total disrespect that the premier and the ministry of health have shown by its wage/benefit/staffing policies for its dedicated nursing staff during the last 18 months, during the COVID pandemic.

The nurses in B.C.’s emergency units have worked long hours – often mandatory overtime and operated under terrible working conditions.

Many of the emergency units in B.C. hospitals handling COVID cases have been consistently operating at less than 50 per cent capacity in terms of nursing staff.

From personal knowledge, I can say that in many cases in B.C., junior nursing staff have been forced into working in supervisory roles at hospitals because of the shortage of qualified and more experienced nursing staff.

As well, nurses in B.C. are leaving the profession in droves due to poor salaries and working conditions.

The province of B.C. needs to immediately address these critical nursing staff shortages and working conditions through significantly and permanently raising the salaries, and improving the benefits and working conditions of all nurses in its hospitals and in senior-care facilities.

These actions are required in order to provide a safe and attractive working environment for the nursing professionals in B.C., and a strong provincial health-care network going forward.

I have no connection to the nursing unions, but I am very concerned about the current and future state of the provincial health-care system.

Could you please properly and immediately address these critical health improvements in a much quicker and more efficient manner.

Bill Lambert, Surrey

BC HealthLetter to the Editornurse