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Nurses disappointed with Vernon hospital announcement

February 12, 2013

Completion of the new Polson tower will result in only 14 new beds when at least 30 more beds and more nursing staff are needed.

Nurses at Vernon Jubilee Hospital are extremely disappointed with yesterday's announcement that only 14 additional beds will result from completion of the top two floors of the new Polson tower.

"While we are pleased the Interior Health Authority will be completing the two unfinished floors, the extra beds won't even bring the hospital up to its usual need when it operates overcapacity," says Tracy Quewezance, Thompson North Okanagan chair for the BC Nurses? Union.

"Unfortunately this looks more like the shuffling of the deck chairs on the titanic. Nurses are very concerned that at least 30 more beds are needed as the facility has been running 130 percent overcapacity."

The rest of the 'new' beds in the completed tower will replace old beds elsewhere in the hospital and enable the hospital to turn four-bed rooms into two, and two-bed rooms into singles.

The announcement will bring the total number of funded beds from 148 to 162. But the facility regularly needs to accommodate more than 170 patients. In February 2011 there were 192 patients requiring beds.

"The public expected completion of the tower would result in 60 more beds and more staffing to reflect it. That's what nurses joined the community to push for the last two years. The result announced yesterday is certainly a major letdown," says BCNU president Debra McPherson. ?We?ll continue to push the IHA to do everything it can to increase capacity and staffing to what's really needed for the community."

For more information contact:
Tracy Quewezance
BCNU Thompson North Okanagan chair
Phone: 250-320-8064

Debra McPherson
BCNU President
Phone: 604-209-4253

Art Moses
BCNU Communications
Phone: 604-868-4259

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