Budget 2023: Investment in Health Human Resources Strategy Promising for Nurses

February 28, 2023
Union says aspects of the budget will ease the extraordinary stress health-care workers are under

The BC Nurses’ Union is hopeful that elements of today’s provincial government announcement of $6.4-billion dollars in new money for health care over the next three years will go towards investing in nurses.

BCNU President Aman Grewal says the union is pleased to see $1-billion dollars in new funding allocated to expand mental health and addictions services, further investments in cancer care, and a refreshed primary-care strategy. Today’s announcement also includes $995-million dollars over three years to bolster BC’s health workforce strategy announced last fall to help recruit, retain, and rebalance workload, embed reconciliation and cultural safety, and expand training and education seats for a full range of health-care professionals.

“Nurses are currently bargaining for a new collective agreement that takes into consideration their dedication and professionalism,” says Grewal. “It is our sincere hope that the investments announced today will help to provide nurses with enough incentive to keep them in the profession. We look forward to working with government to help develop the kinds of specific recruitment and retention strategies needed to address the nurse shortage in this province.”

The largest-ever capital investment for new health-care infrastructure, $11.2-billion-dollars, is also earmarked for new hospitals and health-care facilities in places like Vancouver, Surrey, Terrace, and Cowichan.

BC’s most recent Labour Market Outlook states that between now and 2031, the province will need nearly 27,000 more nurses to keep up with the health care needs of British Columbians. It’s a concerning projection given the province’s nurse vacancy numbers climbed to 5,325 at the end of September, 2022

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