The BC Nurses’ Union says it is very concerned about ongoing emergency room closures that are hitting many communities on northern Vancouver Island, and is holding a rally in Campbell River to call for change.
The union says recent temporary closures in Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Alert Bay have forced patients to travel to Campbell River’s North Island Hospital — where the ER is already facing a capacity crisis.
“Our nurses are very worried. The Campbell River hospital, I understand at any given time could be at 140, 145 per cent capacity, and at the same time there’s maybe only 60 to 70 per cent of the nurses that would be normally scheduled to work,” said Adriane Gear BNCU vice-president.
“So there’s some severe staffing shortages, which means that nurses simply cannot provide the care that patients require and deserve.”
The union is calling on the B.C. government to sit down and come up with a plan to improve health care on the North Island, including addressing the family doctor shortage that causes more patients to attend local ERs.
BCNU representatives will then travel to Nanaimo Thursday to speak to nurses at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, which is facing its own challenges with staffing shortages and overcapacity.