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BC Nurses Union calling on the province, Northern Health to increase support for frontline workers

(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)

BC Nurses Union President Christine Sorensen stated Intensive Care nurses at Prince George’s University Hospital are cracking under the pandemic pressure.

Sorensen told Vista Radio the region is already struggling with fewer nurses per capita than all of Canada.

“And then on top of that, Northern Health has 25% fewer nurses than the rest of BC. You have significant issues in your rural and remote communities and then patients who are requiring more complex care related to the pandemic or complex surgeries have to go to UHNBC.”

“That site in and of itself is also struggling with a lot of nurses who really are after a year of this pandemic struggling, physically and emotionally to help manage some very sick people who are coming into UHNBC.”

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She’s worried PG’s University Hospital could suffer the same fate as the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops where they announced day surgeries requiring an overnight stay would be postponed due to capacity constraints.

“We are unfortunately seeing patients having to wait longer for the care that they need and that can lead to complications for the patient and we are very concerned that patients aren’t getting the timely care.”

“I think that as we go forward, all of us across the province need to be aware that any OR surgical procedure may be postponed or delayed because of the increase in variant cases in BC, and that increases the risk of getting COVID including our nursing and healthcare staff.”

Sorensen is calling on Northern Health and the Ministry of Health to step up their support for our region’s nurses.

“We need to have more nurses in this province and so we need to provide great support around education for nurses but we also need to look at how we recruit and retain the nurses that we have. This includes changing things around internationally educated nurses. But the Ministry and Northern Health need to look at how the nurses they have been supporting them so that they will stay.”

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