December 9, 2023

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‘Morally distressed’: B.C. nurses hold rally outside Victoria General Hospital

Dozens of nurses and health advocates are holding a rally at Victoria General Hospital on Sunday.

They are concerned that the hospital’s working conditions are “untenable.”

“Nurses at Victoria General Hospital say they are morally distressed with what they are seeing unfold on almost every shift,” said BC Nurses’ Union vice-president Adriane Gear.

“We are rallying (Sunday) to let the public know that more needs to be done to keep them and their loved ones safe.

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“Recruitment and retention strategies are critical to addressing the staffing shortage across the province. We need the government and health authorities to act now.”

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Victoria General is the primary trauma centre in the region, providing the highest level of care from resuscitation to rehabilitation.

Last week, Island Health announced the emergency department at Saanich Peninsula Hospital will be closed overnight from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. from July 7 to Sept. 4, which nurses say will only increase pressure on the hospital in Victoria and at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

The rally is expected to begin at 4:30 p.m.

A B.C. Ministry of Health spokesperson said on Sunday the ministry and health authorities continue to work with the BC Nurses’ Union and the Nurses Bargaining Association on the concerns that have been raised.

“Retaining, recruiting, and training more nurses is a top priority. That is why we are investing in nurses and why we developed the Health Human Resources strategy, announced in fall 2022, that addresses many of the issues that affect nurses,” the spokesperson said in an email.

“We added 602 nursing seats in post-secondary institutions across the province to the approximately 2,000 seats currently. This is an increase of more than 30 per cent.”

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