Staff shortages at B.C. hospitals prompting concerns

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

The recent death of a man who suffered a heart attack in Haida Gwaii because he didn’t have better access to care is prompting more warnings about staffing shortages at two B.C. hospitals.

Some beds at New Westminster’s Royal Columbian and the pending closure of the Intensive Care Unit in Fort St. John are being blamed on a lack of specialty-trained workers.

Christine Sorensen with the BC Nurses Union fears what happened in Haida Gwaii could happen again this weekend.

“The nurses in Fort St. John are very concerned. They provide care to people that they know very well and with the shortage of staffing, many of these nurses are often working overtime to cover shifts to ensure that there is staffing available.”

“They’ve now run into a crunch this weekend where there is nobody available.”

Sorensen adds critically ill patients who require specially-trained nurses are not easy to move to other wards.


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  1. It’s not just the medical side. There are staff shortages in all the department’s in our hospitals, but no shortage of management having meetings to plan their next meeting. It’s sad but very true.

  2. Staff is getting reduced, nurses are hired as casuals with no guaratneed hours of work and no benefits or on part time. What do you expect to happen? The increased number of management will take care of patients?

  3. DA , hire more nurses , and not from the Phiopeens ither , I was in The General for a month last year . and on saterdays I got this nurses aid . come into my room and started dicktateing to me , I’de get dressed go home for the day and just sleep , because it shure is hard sleeping
    inthe hospitle , I de go back when the shift changed , and the nurses I had were great , I told them what the problem was and I got a new nurses aid , the last one didn’t have any maners . she figured she was a sargent in boot camp , we don’t need any more airagent, pushy ,
    rude , bully , people working in our hospitles , It’s bad enough that you just about died ,
    And the cleaning staff need nore training . Cought Gstaff on the second day there .

  4. The Canadian health care model is defective, and comparative studies with other countries (excluding the USA) have shown that time and again. These problems are happening across the country in one form or another. If it was just in BC that would be different. Remember when the UK National Health System was the “envy of the world”? No one takes that seriously any more and the systems are comparable. Our system needs more private sector involvement and a less centralized, top down, one sized fits all model. The only way that will happen is if the current system all but collapses-which it will do.

    We are told that the system is “underfunded” which tells us nothing because those saying this will not disclose what adequate funding would be. Other countries achieve more with less.

    Government managed systems always produce shortages and systemic problems because they are not sufficiently responsive to changes taking place on the ground. As the late Dr. Milton Friedman put it-it the government was to be in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in less than 5 years.

  5. What’s Al nattering about? The average wage earner pays close t oHALF of earnings in taxes. We have one of the most expensive healt care among the industrializes nations.
    If it was’t for some conscienciout professionals and my daugher threatening legal action if I died to sue the hospital I’d be DEAD now.

    Canada is one of THREE nations anywhere on the World that has Govermnment Monopoly by LAW, the other two being CUBA and North Korea.

    My wife retired nurse and we do meet currentl practiciag RNs, Doctors and others and they all remarking on ‘REORGANIZATIONS’ that nothing but cutting staff.

    Health care costs are going up constantly but WERE IS ALL THOSE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE BEIGN SPENT?

  6. “Some beds at New Westminster’s Royal Columbian and the pending closure of the Intensive Care Unit in Fort St. John are being blamed on a lack of specialty-trained workers.”

    The beds aren’t to blame.

    It is critical to call this like it is – WE NEED MORE NURSES !!!!

    50,000 people per year come to B.C. The unemployment rate is going down. All these new people are paying taxes. We are still cutting nurses out.

    Around the world nurses are being recruited.
    Why are we the only jurisdiction reducing nurses?

    The only head count growth in Health is administrative – EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF OUR NEEDS.