Friday, February 23, 2024

BC says health care workforce will continue to improve as 2024 approaches


The Province says that as compared to the health care situation at the beginning of 2023, things have improved drastically.

Adrian Dix, BC’s Minister of Health says that the government has been making massive investments to get people access to health care in every way possible. 

“In response to rapidly growing patient demand for health care services and a global shortage of health care workers, we launched BC’s Health and Human Resources Strategy last year to recruit, retain and train more health-care workers,” Dix said. 

“We said we’d hire, educate and retrain more health care workers, and we did. We said we’d make our health care workplaces more supportive to share the workload, and we are.” 

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Dix also says that the government is making good on their promise to expand and support the health care workforce until the system is renewed, rebuilt and strengthened.

Some specific, tangible results of their efforts have been: 

  • 3,882 family physicians registered for the ‘longitudinal family physician model’ 
  • 6,258 new nurses have registered with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, including 578 internationally educated nurses
  • Creating over 1,000 new full-time paramedic and emergency responder positions

In terms of support and education the Province has made similar strides by adding more than 7,000 people who have been hired as support workers in long-term care, assisted living, home health and acute-care settings. 

Also, under newly expanded scopes of work, pharmacists can now treat minor ailments, provide free contraception services, adapt prescriptions and administer drugs.

Going forward, the Province says they will focus on four facets of the health care system in BC — to retain, redesign, recruit and train.

“In our BC pandemic, people came together to support each other,” Dix said. “And it’s that BC experience, that BC strength, that essential BC character we’ve carried to our Health Human Resources commitment, bringing in new people, new skills and new approaches to help those delivering our health care, so all of us can better access the health care and support we rely on.”

Despite the progress, in Victoria it remains difficult to get into any of the urgent care clinics, find a family physician or nurse practitioner, swiftly receive care from emergency rooms and even access virtual doctors for necessary referrals. 

In addition to this, on Vancouver Island, emergency rooms in more rural communities frequently shutter due to short staffing.

Curtis Blandy

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