TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C – The District of Tumbler Ridge has committed funds to bring in agency nurses for June after a conversation with Northern Health.

Mayor and council met with Northern Health representatives on May 31st to discuss the nursing shortage in the northeast. Due to the shortage at the Tumbler Ridge Health Centre, the district was unable to take new patients starting on Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. and every day since. The district expects this to continue until 9 a.m. on June 7th.

The district is offering $1,000 per week to any nurse who commits to two weeks or more in the community this month.

“Nursing shortages are a reality for many communities, but this is not acceptable. Tumbler Ridge needs a reliable health care system, and Northern Health and the province of British Columbia need to take action for the safety of our residents, businesses and visitors,” said Mayor Keith Bertrand in a statement Friday.

There is an immediate need for staff so that full-time permanent staff can have a work-life balance, adds Bertrand.

“The facility requires three nurses to ensure a reasonable amount of time off with on call coverage.”

Council will lobby the province to prioritize health care in the northeast, says Bertrand.