BC Hospital Employee Union calls for incentives for all healthcare workers – BC News

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A move to attract new health workers to positions in Grand Forks has drawn the ire of the BC Hospital Workers Union.

On Wednesday, Interior Health outlined new incentives are offered to attract new workers, including financial and other non-monetary incentives.

Meena Brisard, HEU secretary, business manager in Grand Forks, says she’s concerned about the health care workers already working who won’t qualify for the new incentives.

“It takes a team to deliver healthcare, and each member of that team is a critical link in the healthcare journey for patients and nursing home residents,” Brisard told Castanet Thursday.

“That team is under pressure in Grand Forks, where staffing shortages are compromising access to care and putting a tremendous strain on existing staff.”

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said the territory’s staffing issues require “out-of-the-box” solutions.

“Grand Forks faces unique staffing challenges that require community-based solutions and outside-the-box thinking,” Dix said.

“These incentives are an important step toward bringing best practices from across the province to Grand Forks and stabilizing local health services that people in the area expect and deserve.”

The incentives and resources are available to qualified frontline Interior Health Grand Forks staff who work at Boundary District Hospital, Hardy View Lodge Long Term Care Home and in community settings such as home support and mental health substance abuse services.

“Yesterday, the Department of Health announced a number of financial incentives to help address these shortages, but these incentives only apply to some members of the health care team and devalue the contributions of others who also work every day to provide good care in Grand Forks, ” said Brisard.

“These types of incentive schemes have a negative impact on staff morale at a time when we need to support our entire healthcare team.”

New incentives include:

  • Up to $2,000 in a quarterly retention bonus for eligible existing staff depending on how much they work (full-time maximum amount). This is an expansion of the existing Provincial Rural Retention Incentive (PRRI) program currently being developed by communities in Northern Health.
  • 1.5 times normal pay for staff traveling more than 25 miles from other IH work sites for support services in Grand Forks.
  • Up to a $1,500 bonus for Interior Health staff who refer other health workers to Grand Forks who apply for qualified positions.
  • Expansion of Northern Health’s Travel Resource Program (TRP) to include Grand Forks, which will provide access to a pool of nurses to support the community. TRP nurses can begin requesting and scheduling shifts in Grand Forks beginning December 1st.

Limited staffing in Grand Forks has resulted in the temporary closure of beds at Boundary Hospital in March. To date, emergency department services have gone above and beyond to avoid more significant closures, but additional staff are also needed to stabilize the response and reduce the risk of any disruptions.

“These incentives are part of our commitment to local patients and to our current staff and physicians who remained steadfast in their dedication to the Grand Forks and Boundary communities during these challenging times,” said Dr. Shallen Letwin, Vice President of Clinical Operations, IH South.

Incentives are currently available for the following positions:

  • Registered nurse
  • trained psychiatric nurse
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Health assistant
  • Community health worker
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist
  • Medical laboratory assistant
  • Radiology Technologist
  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Sonographer
  • Dietician
  • Frontline Clinical Managers (referral bonus and PRRI only)

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