VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province announced funding aimed at improving healthcare worker retention in Northern British Columbia, and specifically, the Peace Region.
After consulting with Mayor Lori Ackerman and Peace River North MLA Dan Davies among others who raised concerns about healthcare in the north, Health Minister Adrian Dix spoke at a conference on Tuesday, announcing actions that will be taken to make lives better for people in Northern B.C.
Dix says the Ministry is providing $225,000 in funding to develop a childcare program to support expanded net new childcare spots and expanded hours of operation to meet the needs of healthcare workers who often work 12-hour shifts.
“Anticipated regions for this include Kitimat, Hazelton, Prince Rupert, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John,” added Dix, who says actions are being taken at every level in Northern Health.
The Ministry also earmarked $750,000 for a housing program in communities “where suitable market housing is a barrier to permanent staffing and short-term deployments” in the same regions as the new childcare funding.
“We’re announcing $6.38 million for programs to retain and recruit more healthcare workers in the Northern Health Authority by making the north a desirable and accessible place for health professionals to live and work,” said Dix.
Starting immediately, the Province is launching a comprehensive healthcare worker rural retention program, offering financial incentives and support for healthcare workers. The program is funded by the Ministry of Health, rather than Northern Health. Dix says the cost is around $3 million.
“Further, funding of $821,000 from the Ministry will be put in place to continue the Travel Resource Program and keep the more than 40 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who received support from that program.”
A flexible community fund of $115,000 will support patient care delivery to support interdisciplinary teams and the health authority to create a unique approach to addressing rural health needs.
The Rural Urgent Doctor in Aid program is launching to provide 24/7 virtual support for physicians and other healthcare workers in rural communities with $825,000 in funding.
“Funding of up to $645,000 by the Ministry is also geared towards creating clinical management supports for Prince Rupert and the northeast that increases clinical program management capacity to support new graduates, provide more resources for management competency development, increase number and distribution of managers, and improve management support systems.”
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