Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, announced a rural worker retention program worth $3 million is being implemented to get staff to work in Northern Health.

“The program is designed to offer financial incentives and support for healthcare workers, and it will be directly funded by the Ministry of Health,” said Dix.

Of the incentives, $821,000 is being added to the Travel Resource program, while $115,000 is being used as a flexible community program.

In addition, $225,000 will be invested towards a childcare program for healthcare workers who log long hours.

Lastly, $750,000 is going to a housing program for regions where suitable housing is a barrier for healthcare workers.

Physicians will have access to the Rural Urgent Doctor and Aid 24/7 virtual support pathway that will be funded with $825,000.

Up to $645,000 is going towards clinical management supports in BC.

In response to people asking about healthcare workers potentially leaving due to not being vaccinated, Dix said we need everyone in healthcare to get vaccinated.

“I think people would expect that workers in healthcare are vaccinated against COVID-19 given what we’ve lived through together in the last 18 months.”

Dix also announced 24 ambulance stations in BC are being converted from on-call paramedic staffing to 24/7 stations with eight full-time paramedics.