January 19, 2016 6:37 pm
Updated: January 19, 2016 10:41 pm

B.C. to hire more than 1,600 nurses by the end of March

WATCH: The British Columbia government says it needs to hire more than 1,600 nurses over the next several weeks to ease a shortage. Randene Neill reports.


B.C. government is going ahead with the plan to hire more than 1,600 nurses by the end of March, a promise officials made three years ago.

“In 2012, the BCNU negotiated a contract,” says BCNU President, Gayle Duteil. “It called for 2,125 new nurses to be hired by March 31, 2016. Some were, but many more are needed.”

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake says 1,643 nurses will be hired, with the majority being employed by Fraser Health.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Fraser Health: 400 nurses

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Interior Health: 300 nurses
Island Health: 290 nurses
Northern Health: 100 nurses
Providence Health Care: 80 nurses
Provincial Health Services Authority: 238 nurses
Vancouver Coastal: 235 nurses

Duteil says they hope to hire most of the nurses from the 7,000 casual nurses who are already working in the system.

“We have an urgent appeal to casual nurses,” she said. “If you want a regular job, please apply today.”

All types of nurses will be hired, even though the greatest need currently is for specialty nurses.

There are currently more than 1,000 vacant specialty nursing positions, which has led to cancelled surgeries in the past few months.

But because there are so few specialty nurses available in the province, many of those positions may need to be filled from out of province, or even out of country.

The Health Employers Association of BC and the BCNU will contract with HealthBC to work with the health authorities on a recruitment campaign. It’s expected to cost about $500,000.

The health authorities have already budgeted to hire the more than 1,600 nurses, which is expected to cost at least $160 million.

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