Health authorities improve patient care with creation of nursing positions

January 19, 2016
For Immediate Release Ministry of Health & BC Nurses' Union

The Province is working in partnership with the BC Nurses' Union (BCNU) to create over 1,600 additional regular nursing positions to the B.C. health system, to improve care for patients and better support nurses on the frontlines of health care.

"Nurses are important, highly-skilled members of health care teams throughout British Columbia, and today's announcement acknowledges their integral role in the health system," said Health Minister Terry Lake. "Over the past year, we have been working closely with nurses to make health care improvements that benefit both patients and staff. We are confident this spirit of partnership will continue as we work together on a new collective agreement that meets the goals of nurses, health authorities and the Province."

The Ministry of Health, along with health authorities, the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) and BCNU have jointly committed to work together to create 1,643 regular nursing positions by March 31, 2016.

"To nurses who are trying to provide safe patient care while working short in ERs and operating rooms and nurses who cope with overwhelming workloads, this agreement means that relief is on the way," said Gayle Duteil, president of the BCNU. "I urge nurses who are working casual and who want a permanent position to send an email today to: BCNU is supporting the hiring process by providing a first point of contact for all qualified nurses."

Recruitment targets are as follows:

  • Fraser Health: 400
  • Interior Health: 300
  • Island Health: 290
  • Northern Health: 100
  • Providence Health Care: 80
  • Provincial Health Services Authority: 238
  • Vancouver Coastal: 235

"Fraser Health welcomes this opportunity to work with the BCNU in order to recruit new nurses to the region," said Fraser Health president and chief executive officer Michael Marchbank. "This will provide even greater levels of care for patients."

HEABC and BCNU will contract with HealthMatch BC to work in partnership with the health authorities on a recruitment campaign.

"Nurses are a key pillar of BC's health care system, delivering quality treatment to thousands of patients every day throughout the province," said HEABC president and chief executive officer David Logan. "This recruitment effort will contribute immensely to maintaining these high standards while supporting our current efforts at the bargaining table as we work to reach a collective agreement over the next couple of months that serves the primary aim of providing the best care possible to British Columbians."

In the last year, BCNU and the Province have equally funded $2 million for violence prevention actions at sites that deal with some of the province's most complex patients, as well as specialty and community nurse funding.

Last April, the Ministry of Health and HEABC reached an agreement with BCNU and the Nurses Bargaining Association to improve patient care, with about $5 million allocated towards specialty nurse training for positions such as emergency room, operating room, obstetric and neonatal nurses. As part of this agreement, the ministry has also provided $1 million to assist Licensed Practical Nurses pursuing registered nurse education and $2 million to provide new mobile technology to community nurses.

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