The President of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union Janet Hazelton says the number of vacant
nursing positions in the province is staggering. Hazelton, speaking to the Annual General Meeting of the Antigonish Liberal Association Sunday, says there are 1,600 to 2,000 vacancies; the highest it has ever been.
Hazelton says there are a lot of reasons why it is so high, but it doesn’t matter why, it just needs to be fixed.
Hazelton says solving this problem won’t happen overnight, but in order to address the staffing deficit, measurable demonstrated milestones need to be achieved, such as determining how many nurses are being retained and what needs to be done to keep them.
The Antigonish native and St. FX University graduate says perhaps one way to bolster staffing levels is to help nursing students with their tuition and in return the student agrees to stay in Nova Scotia for several years after graduation.
Hazelton says she’s also concerned about the move toward privatization in Health Care.
Hazelton says a second clinic opened in Halifax recently. A similar one opened in Halifax and closed shortly afterward.
Hazelton, says Health Care should be about people needing care because they need care. She says people shouldn’t be able to write a cheque to jump the queue.
Hazelton says any procedure in the private clinic does not permit overnight stays, and other services such as blood work and X-rays must still be performed in the public system. She also wonders how many Nova Scotians would be able to afford a private clinic.
Hazelton believes to cut down on surgery wait times, hours for operating rooms at Nova Scotia hospitals need to be expanded beyond its current practice of during the day Monday to Friday.