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122 Nurses Replaced by Care Aides in Victoria

October 8, 2013

The BC Nurses’ union is alarmed by Island Health’s latest plan to save money on the backs
of patients and their care. The “CDMR” or Care Delivery Model Redesign is being implemented
at Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital in January.

The move will see more than 122 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses’ positions at the two hospitals replaced by care aides. Island Health claims nurses will not lose their jobs, but their positions within each ward will be gone – the jobs they were doing will no longer exist.

“It’s disappearing care,” says BCNU President Debra McPherson, “Island Health is trading highly skilled and trained nurses for cheaper labour. You can’t take 122 nurses out of the picture and expect to maintain safe patient care.”

“Replacing professional nurses with unlicensed care aides will put patient safety at risk,” said
Margo Wilton, BCNU’s South Island Region Co-Chair.

The new care model was first launched at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in September when 26 RN and LPN positions were replaced by care aides.

The net effect has been an increase in the number of patients each professional nurse oversees
and it diminishes the time available for assessment, monitoring and administering medications. Nurses provide timely observations and rapid intervention, which is key to preventing negative outcomes in care.

“If nurses have less time to observe and assess patients, it’s likely that potentially life-threatening conditions won’t be noticed,” said BCNU’s South Island Region Co-Chair Adriane Gear.

"We welcome care aides to existing care teams but not at the expense of licensed nurses who are trained to assess the signs and symptoms of illness and infection,” says McPherson.

Media Availability for Debra McPherson, President, BC Nurses Union in Nanaimo
11:30 am – 12:00 pm (today)
Coast Bastion Inn, 11 Bastion Street (Outside Main Ballroom, lobby entrance)


Nurses launch petition to stop Island Health from cutting more nurses at the bedside:

Nurses protest changes to patient care:,%202013

Nurses demand independent review of new care model:,%202013:search:petition

Nurses demand evidence of new care model:,%202013:search:petition

Potential impacts of new care model on patient care:

• Frequent, sometimes lengthy, delays in administering medications, including insulins, increasing the risk of missed medications and complications;
• Failure to complete daily head-to-toe patient assessments (including post-surgical) and increasing the likelihood of missing signs of deterioration;
• Inability to respond promptly to patient call bells and bed alarms (used for disoriented patients) due to scarcity of available nursing staff;
• Inadequate charting of patient conditions due to lack of time for individual monitoring and assessment, increasing the risk of failure to rescue.

For more information contact:
Catherine Pope
Communications Officer
BC Nurses' Union
Phone: 604-433-2268
Cell: 602-313-7412

David Cubberley
Campaigns Officer
BC Nurses' Union
Phone: 604-433-2268
Cell: 604-992-9226

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BC Nurses' Union


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