Ministry insists staffing a priority for nurses

The Ministry of Health said even in tough economic times, the B.C. government is honouring its commitment to protect health care.

Responding to comments made by B.C. Nurses Union president Debra McPherson during a tour of Williams Lake last week, the Ministry of Health told the Tribune even in tough economic times, the B.C. government is honouring its commitment to protect health care.

“The Ministry of Health funding will increase by $374 million in 2013-14 to $16.6 billion — an increase of 2.3 per cent for Ministry of Health funding,” the Ministry of Health noted in an e-mail response. “Within three years, the budget will see Ministry of Health spending increase by $1.2 billion up to $17.4 billion by 2015-16 — this translates into a 7.6 per cent increase over three years. In this year’s budget, we are protecting and maintaining health authority funding, while also ensuring the health services British Columbians rely on are maintained.”

It’s a budget that continues a trend of slowing the rate of growth in health care spending, the ministry argued.

“Before the worldwide economic crisis, health care funding was growing by about seven per cent a year — in our last budget growth was down to around three per cent, and in Budget 2013 it will be at 2.6 per cent.”

While McPherson said nurses are “terrified” the lower budget increases will result in layoffs and more work, the Ministry insisted it is a priority of the ministry and health authorities that the province’s health human resources are deployed as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“The two-year labour agreement with the Nurses Bargaining Association, announced in October 2012, specifically targeted nurse workload and improvements to patient care and included an increase in the work hours from 36 to 37.5 hours per week,” the ministry said. “With the increase in work week hours of nurses, there is an increase in capacity across the health system and, as a result, fewer part time workers may be required in certain areas. Transitioning to a 37.5 hour work week will also help authorities reduce the more expensive overtime hours.”

The agreement also includes the addition of 2,125 nurses over the next four years in recognition of projected increases in patient care demand and in support of the continued management of nurses’ workload.

“We are committed to that increase in nurses – it should be noted we are less than a year into the four-year term of that increase.”

Responding to McPherson’s call on the government to create incentives for nurses to work in communities where there are nursing shortages, the Ministry said since 2001, more than $200 million has been invested through the BC Nursing Strategy to educate, recruit and retain nurses.

“Our government supports undergraduate and new graduating nurses to better integrate in the health system, and all health authorities have strategies to support new graduates as they enter the workplace,” the Ministry noted. “Through the nurse education bursary over 6,500 nursing students have received more than $20.4 million in education funding since 2001. Since 2001, over $9.1 million in B.C. student loans forgiveness has been provided for nursing graduates working in rural, remote and other high-demand areas.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read