B.C. health-care workers able to work at multiple facilities as order rescinds

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B.C. health-care clinical staff will be able to work at numerous facilities starting Jan. 1 as a provincial health order ends.

The government made the announcement in mid-December that as of Jan. 1, 2023, clinical staff will no longer be limited to working at one site.

Health workers will still need to be immunized with a primary COVID-19 vaccine series unless they have an exemption from the provincial health officer.

“Given British Columbia’s high level of vaccination against COVID-19 among all staff in long-term-care and assisted-living facilities, it’s no longer necessary to have restrictions on where health-care staff can work,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.

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“We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 cases in all health-care settings and adapt our approach as needed to protect the health and safety of patients, residents and staff.”

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This includes staff working at long-term care and assisted-living facilities, provincial mental-health facilities, private hospitals, and extended-care hospitals.

The B.C. Care Providers Association said it’s a move that should have been done earlier but will be beneficial for staffing issues across the province.

“When we’re short-staffed, residents aren’t receiving the level of care that they need and deserve — because there’s just enough not enough (staff),” said Terry Lake, B.C. Care Providers Association’s CEO.

“Having more flexibility in the system with the lifting of the single-site order, I think will give us more of an ability to fill those shifts to make sure people are getting the full level of care that they should receive every day.”

Extra funding for staff wages working in the sector will continue, according to the Ministry of Heath.

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“COVID-19 has been challenging for people working in long-term-care and assisted-living facilities, and we’re committed to continuing to support them so they, in turn, can continue providing our most-vulnerable citizens with the consistent, compassionate and high-quality care they deserve,” said Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Minister of Health.

“Ensuring all health-care workers receive appropriate compensation for their invaluable work is a key commitment in our Health Human Resources Strategy.”

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