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BC Nurses' Union says Budget 2021's Post-Pandemic Outlook Falls Short in Addressing Province's Nurse Shortage

  • News Release
Union says ensuring there are enough nurses now and into the future must be part of government’s pandemic recovery plan

While the BC Nurses' Union is pleased to see Budget 2021 contain $65.7 million in new funding over the next three years for health-care programs and training for nurses, President Christine Sorensen says she is worried it won't be enough to meet the short-term health-care demands this province will continue to require, now 13 months into a global pandemic.

"Budget 2021 is being tabled while the province navigates a challenging third wave of COVID-19, and more people than ever are sick in hospital," says Sorensen. "We expected to see more attention paid to the incredible strain that's occurring right now on the health-care system, and those working within it. Again, we see plans for new and upgraded health-care facilities, but no mention of how they plan to staff them in the short and long term."

The province's budget identifies significant investments for a pandemic recovery plan, including vaccine deployment, increased PPE, maintaining the single site order in long-term care and assisted living facilities and more.

The union is pleased to see the largest investment in BC history for mental health and addiction services, treatment, prevention and emergency response, to address the devastating opioid crisis. Funding has also been included to help maintain a number of implemented health strategies like the Hospital-at-Home program.

However, Sorensen says the province's goal to 'build a bridge to recovery' is one that will only be met if there are enough trained nurses and health-care workers ready to take on an uncertain future.

"We recognize the speed at which things are changing, and the uncertainty that lies ahead, especially around variants of concern impacting recovery, and the province's vaccine timeline," she says. "Part of preparing for what's to come is ensuring there is a robust workforce that is healthy, supported and ready to meet the health-care needs of British Columbians."

Media Contact Katharine Kitts, BCNU Communications
Tel: 604-220-9815 | Email: kkitts@bcnu.org

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