“A birthing unit crisis and staffing nightmare.”
Those words being used by the BC Nurses Union to describe the maternity ward at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Nurses in SMH’s birthing unit say expectant moms are being put at risk by a chronic shortage of nurses available to care for them.
Mass exodus of nurses leaving the hospital
Michelle Sordal, a regional chair with the BCNU, says there has also been a mass exodus of 30 regular nurses in the past two years who are burnt out.
“At the end of the day the baseline staffing is set for a reason, at 21 nurses on nights and 23 on days, and that is to ensure patient safety. When we are not getting to that level of staffing…there is a risk.”
Sordal says the unit is chronically under-staffed with 14 nurses on the night shift, instead of the required 21.
“I think every citizen in this province deserves a right to safe patient care and to…know that the staffing levels will be adequate to provide that in all areas of health care, including the family birthing unit. They need to hire more nurses, and they need to replace the nurses who are off.”
Fraser Health Spokesperson Tasleem Juma claims the unit’s staffing challenges are mostly due to illness and vacancies.
Juma adds the health authority is training 10 more nurses are on the way.
4200 babies are born there every year.