"It is our expectation that there will be an openness among all parties to identify and implement strategies so that BC can be successful in meeting the health care needs of British Columbians." — Jeanne Meyers, HSABC Executive Director (Legal Services and Labour Relations)
Vancouver (13 May 2020) — As governments across the country start to develop plans to loosen the conditions in place to handle the COVID-19 crisis, the Health Sciences Association in BC (HSABC/NUPGE) has urged the provincial government to consider its members.
Health professionals key to re-starting surgeries safely
Because the May 7 public briefing by BC Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix was short on details about how shortages and chronic challenges in recruitment and retention of health science professionals will be addressed in the plan, HSABC/NUPGE has written to the government outlining specific concerns it needs to keep in mind moving forward.
Specifically, HSABC/NUPGE has said that the plan must include all members of the health care team, including specialized health science professionals. In her letter to the Ministry of Health, Jeanne Meyers, HSABC Executive Director (Legal Services and Labour Relations) wrote, "We want to make sure that when planning to gradually reintroduce non-urgent/emergent in- and out patient services, attention is paid to making sure services from our professions are contemplated. Our members will be critical to ensuring timely access to diagnostic and surgical services, and working down the backlog."
HSABC/NUPGE identified several areas for consideration. The Ministry will need to:
- Increase and optimize public diagnostic imaging and surgical capacity to work down the backlog
- Clarify the approach to infection control and physical distancing measures in inpatient and outpatient settings as scheduled/non-urgent services resume.
- Re-focus efforts to implement Hip and Knee Programs at all provincial sites that will be essential to working down backlogs in the immediate term and embedding system improvements over the long term.
- Identify and implement strategies to mitigate pre-existing health science professional shortages that are likely to impede efforts to work down the backlog.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE