Candidates, MLAs back area nurses in their drive to protect patients
May 9, 2013
Nurses at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital won support last night from candidates in all three Nanaimo-area constituencies in the fight to stop VIHA from cutting nurses on key hospital units and replacing them with care aides.
Support came from candidates representing the three political parties who were represented at an all-candidates meeting held at Dover Bay Secondary School.
Leonard Krog, (NDP incumbent for Nanaimo) said although the plan is an operational matter for VIHA, everyone here should be concerned when theyre imposing a scheme in which LPNs and RNs are replaced by care aides. Thats not OK. With great respect to the care aides training, theyre not the same thing.
It might work but Im not convinced that you should take a risk with patient care. Unless this has been implemented somewhere and has been shown not to harm patients, any wise government would review that decision.
In conversations later, NDP candidates Barry Avis (Parksville Qualicum) and Doug Routley (Nanaimo North Cowichan endorsed Krogs remarks.
Parksville Qualicum Conservative candidate Dr. David Coupland also supported the nurses, accusing VIHA management of top down decision-making and failing to ensure that the nurses were in the room when the plan was developed.
Unless you have local input you`ll get push-back and should get push-back.
He said when nurses jobs are being downloaded to others you need to determine what is the nature of the work, and to do that you need nurses in the room. I would support a review definitely. You have to look at the process and the impact on patient safety.
Couplands remarks were supported by Conservative candidates John Sherry (Nanaimo North Cowichan) and Bryce Crigger (Nanaimo).
Green Party candidates Ian Gartshore (Nanaimo) and Mayo McDonough (Nanaimo North Cowichan) also backed the nurses in conversations before and after the meeting.
Liberal candidates did not attend the meeting which was sponsored by local teachers. However, at an all-candidates meeting in Parksville Monday, Liberal candidate Michelle Stilwell expressed her concern.
Its important to keep open communication between nurses and VIHA to understand the new patient model. Patient care and safety shouldnt be compromised. It needs further investigation, Stilwell said.
Kelley Charters, BCNU steward at NRGH and spokesperson for the nurses said she was encouraged by the candidates support.
It shows they understand some of the issues were facing providing safe patient care and they support our concerns. Theyre important voices representing the public and hopefully VIHA will listen.
The nurses say care aides are a valuable addition to the care team to help patients with the activities of daily living. VIHA should not use them to replace the skills and knowledge of licensed and registered nursing professionals. For more information contact
BCNU Steward, NRGH
BC Nurses' Union
BC Nurses' Union
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