A move to recruit new healthcare workers in Grand Forks has angered the B.C. Hospital Workers Union.
on wednesday, Interior Health Outlines New Incentives Offered to attract new workers, including financial and other non-financial incentives.
Meena Brisard, HEU secretarial business manager at Grand Forks, said she was concerned that existing health workers would not be eligible for the new incentives.
“Providing healthcare requires a team, and each member of that team is a critical link in the healthcare journey of patients and nursing home residents,” Blizzard told Castanet on Thursday. .
“The team is straining in Grand Forks, where understaffing jeopardizes access to care and places a tremendous strain on existing staff.”
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said the region’s staffing problem needed an “out of the box” solution.
“Grand Forks faces unique staffing challenges that require community-based solutions and an out-of-the-box mindset,” said Dix.
“These incentives are an important step in bringing best practices from across the state to Grand Forks and stabilizing the local healthcare services that people in the area expect and deserve.”
Incentives and resources are available to eligible frontline Interior Health Grand Forks staff working in community settings such as Boundary District Hospitals, Hardy View Lodge Long Term Care Facilities, and Home Assistance and Mental Health Substance Use Services.
“Yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced a number of financial incentives to alleviate these shortages, but these incentives only apply to some members of the medical team, who likewise provide good care every day. We underestimate the contributions of other members who work for… at Grand Forks,” Blissard said.
“This type of incentive scheme negatively impacts staff morale when they need to support the entire medical team.”
New incentives include:
- Up to $2,000 quarterly retention bonus for eligible existing staff based on hours worked (maximum for full-time). This is an extension of the existing State Rural Retention Incentive (PRRI) program currently being prototyped by the Northern Health community.
- 1.5 times normal wages for staff traveling more than 40 kilometers from other IH work locations to support services in Grand Forks.
- Up to $1,500 bonus for interior health staff who refer other health care workers to Grand Forks who have signed on for qualifying positions.
- An expansion of Northern Health’s Travel Resources Program (TRP), including Grand Fork, which provides access to a pool of nurses to support the community. TRP nurses can begin requesting and scheduling shifts in Grand Forks beginning December 1.
Due to limited staffing at Grand Forks, the inpatient beds at Boundary Hospital were temporarily closed in March. To date, emergency department services are going above and beyond to avoid more significant closures, but additional staff are also needed to stabilize emergency services and reduce the risk of disruption.
“These incentives are part of our commitment to our local patients and to our current staff and doctors who have shown their dedication to the Grand Forks and Boundary communities during these difficult times.”
Incentives are currently available for the following roles:
- registered nurse
- Registered Psychiatric Nurse
- certified nurse
- healthcare assistant
- community health worker
- clinical laboratory technician
- clinical laboratory assistant
- social worker
- occupational therapist
- physical therapist
- Frontline Clinical Manager (referral bonus and PRRI only)