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Health and Human Resources Strategy expands healthcare workforce, more actions to come

The province has expanded the healthcare workforce, which they say will increase patient access.

This was part of the Health and Human Resources Strategy launched by the Province last year.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix said the four key aspects of the plan are to retain, redesign, recruit and train.

According to the province, some of the key achievements so far include:

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  • 3,882 family physicians registered for the longitudinal family physician model in 2023.
  • 6,258 new nurses have been registered with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, including 578 internationally educated nurses in 2023.
  • Adding more than 1,000 new permanent full-time paramedic and and emergency responder positions.
  • More than 7,000 people have been hired into Health Career Access Program, where they gain non-clinical experience while training to be a health-care assistant.
  • 666 international medical graduates registered in 2023
  • 602 nursing seats, up to 322 allied health seats, 20 seats for midwives and 60 physician residencies added since 2017
  • hired all 320 relational security officers in health-care settings throughout BC.

“The first year, what we’re seeing in response to need, is a dramatic increase in every category,” Dix said.

“What we believe year two will be even more successful as these measures build out, and that is the intent as we build out care and we build out supports for people.”

The province will be moving forward with nine more actions to support patients and health-care workers in the next year, including:

  • Creating a peer support and mentoring program that empowers experienced health-care workers to support new entrants.
  • Establishing front-line clinical management supports in high-needs areas so staff have adequate support from senior clinical staff.
  • Launching new professional practice and clinical education roles to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and clinical practice improving patient safety and supporting continuous improvement.
  • Further expanding GoHealth BC, the provincial travel resource program supporting rural and remote communities across B.C. to provide supports to additional rural and remote communities across the province and add more health-sector occupations such as allied health to this service.
  • A new provincial recruitment campaign that profiles B.C.’s health-sector advantage and streamlines the job search, recruitment and hiring process for candidates will launch in early 2024.
  • Expanding opportunities for high-school students to explore health-sector training opportunities, including new dual credit programs in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Child Care.
  • Launching an innovative program to support new graduates both in nursing and allied health to transition to practice within the public health-care system.
  • Expanding the employed-student nurse program and developing a new complementary employed-student allied-health program to help students build confidence, reinforce clinical skills and explore different practice settings while being paid for their time.
  • Implementing a new and innovative bachelor of science in nursing practice education model that allows nurses to train for a specialty of interest in their final years of school, rather than waiting to take a separate specialty training course after graduation.

These actions are part of the Health Human Resources Strategy, launched in the fall of 2022, and also build on other investments made by the province since 2017 to strengthen health care in BC.

-Files from Darin Bain, My PG Now

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