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“We need investment into health care now,”: BC Nurses Union President

BC Nurses Union President Aman Grewal is calling on all levels of government to come together and fix a healthcare system that’s on the verge of collapsing in our province.

Grewal was part of a roundtable discussion today (Tuesday) in Vancouver, which included Health Minister Adrian Dix, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos (Do-cloh), and Federation of Nurses President Linda Silas.

Grewal told Vista Radio recruitment and retention along with increased salaries and support were the major topics that were discussed.

“Nurses are the backbone of health care and they are the ones you see at hospitals and long-term care facilities, they are in the community and are keeping our health care system going and they should also be paid appropriately so I think that would be the solution for retention.”

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“We need that investment into health care now. We need them to develop a nurse-focused resource health care plan that addresses the critical staffing shortages here in BC.”
Grewal would like to see a bump in nurses’ salaries sooner rather than later.

This comes after a new payment model was approved for family doctors – legislation that will see them being paid 385 thousand dollars a year, up from 250 grand.

Previously a fee-for-service model was used, where doctors were paid primarily on how many patients they saw in a day.

The new model will also take different factors into account, including the time a doctor spends with a patient, the number of patients a doctor sees in a day, and the complexity of the issues a patient is facing.

Grewal added while the province made the right call in making that investment, nurses are often the backbone of our healthcare system and should also be paid accordingly.

“There is pay equity that needs to happen. We are a union that represents mainly predominantly females so we need gender equity and equality to be there.”

“Because right now, they are not leaving the province, many of them are leaving the profession. Yesterday, I heard a nurse say I have considered going to Starbucks and working there and I heard another say she makes more money checking coats at a pub than she does working as a nurse and I was like wow.”

Grewal mentioned recruitment and retention issues are especially prevalent in the north due to managerial changes among other things.

“So those all need to be looked at as well along with a toxic work culture there and we need to address that in order for our nurses to be retained as well as recruited.”

Over the past two days, provincial and territorial health ministers are demanding Ottawa up its share of funding from 22% to 35%.

However, Duclos said the provinces must agree to share a common set of health indicators, including access to family doctors and mental health support.

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