With files from Simon Little
We told you about nursing shortages causing surgery delays at BC Children’s Hospital.
It turns out Vancouver General Hospital is still reeling from the same problem.
Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson Anna Marie D’Angelo says it’s a problem being dealt with across the country.
“There is a shortage nationwide of OR specialty nurses.”
D’Angelo says the shortage of 27 operating room nurses, or 30%, has led to the postponement of 18 elective procedures in May.
“We definitely apologize for any inconvenience but certainly we are not going to compromise their safety or burn out our staff instead of looking out for their best interests.”
She says Coastal Health is working on filling the gap.
“We have our own peri- operative orientation and training program and that takes about eight months and one of the things we are looking at is to reduce that time for more concentrated learning to maybe five months so we could have more nurses on board quicker.”
She says the health authority is also recruiting nurses from Montreal, Calgary and Victoria.
The issue got so bad that late last year that the health authority offered a $5/hour premium as a recruitment incentive.
After some pushback that program was scrapped.
Surgery wait times
VGH isn’t alone in having staffing issues and surgery wait time issues.
A staffing shortage at B.C. Children’s Hospital has led to the closure of two operating rooms and the postponement of at least 50 elective pediatric surgeries.
Questions about surgery wait times have also been cropping up across the province.
Last summer, the provincial government poured $10 million dollars into the system to try and address waits times.