BC Nurses' Union says Budget 2022 Offers Pandemic Response Funding, Lacks Solutions Around Nurse Retention and Workplace Safety

February 22, 2022
Union says province's fiscal plan lacks a strategic approach to address systemic nursing shortage

While the BC Nurses' Union is pleased to see the government provide $3.2 billion in health care spending over the next three years, President Aman Grewal is cautiously optimistic that this commitment will ensure immediate relief for nurses struggling to provide patient care in a health-care system that's in the throes of a staffing shortage.

"We agree the pandemic has exposed gaps in the health-care system and we welcome investments in pandemic recovery contingencies," says Grewal. "However, more than two years into this public health crisis, we'd like to see more concrete plans around how we will recruit and retain more nurses in the short-term."

BCNU calls the government's weekend announcement of 602 new nurse education seats at post-secondary schools around the province a promising first step but will be watching closely in the coming months for a more detailed health human resources plan.

"Without a plan, I worry we will not have the robust workforce we will need to take on the next phase of the pandemic," says Grewal.

Budget 2022 identifies $875 million from Pandemic Recovery Contingencies for immunization programs, PPE for health-care workers, COVID-19 testing and more. Another $100 million over three years has been allocated for the province's Primary Care Strategy and $8.6 billion on capital spending on health sector infrastructure.

BCNU says today's budget doesn't address violence in health care, provides almost nothing in the way of seniors' care and doesn't do enough to focus on the overdose crisis, which claimed over 2,200 lives last year.

"We would like to have seen more attention on a number of key health care-related issues, especially given the tragic number of lives lost due to the toxic drug supply in this province," says Grewal.

To arrange an interview, please contact BCNU's Communication Department at media@bcnu.org

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