BC Nurses’ Union Brings Calls for Minimum Nurse-patient Ratios to Victoria This Week
It’s been six months since a historic commitment to bring minimum nurse-patient ratios to health-care settings in BC was reached between the government and the province’s nurses.
This week, senior leaders of the BC Nurses’ Union are in Victoria, meeting with all political parties to emphasize the importance of minimum nurse-patient ratios as a critical staffing solution that will address the province’s worsening nurse shortage and improve patient care.
“The government must make it a priority to work with BCNU and implement minimum nurse-patient ratios,” says BCNU president Adriane Gear. “We cannot say it enough – ratios will bring nurses back to the profession and improve patient care across the province. We are asking MLAs from all parties to recognize the benefits ratios will have for health care and patients in their constituencies.”
A recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information paints a grim picture of the current state of the health-care system. Skyrocketing rates of overtime are leading to nurse injury and burnout – and impacting patient care.
The exodus of nurses from the public system is hitting taxpayers’ pocketbooks hard as health authorities turn to expensive nursing agencies in an attempt to staff unfilled positions. Between 2019 and 2023, BC spent $146-million dollars on agency nurses, a significant jump from the $8.7 million spent in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
Meanwhile, the list of temporary emergency department closures and service disruptions due to lack of staff continues to grow. Statistics show there are currently 5,825 nurse vacancies in BC.
“Minimum nurse-patient ratios are the single most important policy solution available to address the staffing crisis that is gripping our health-care system,” says Gear. “They will bring relief to nurses working in the system today and help create the safe, healthy and supportive workplaces needed to recruit nurses we desperately need in the future. We are hopeful the government understands how critical it is to embrace this opportunity and make ratios a reality in this province.”
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