BC Nurses take to the streets to rally against staffing cuts
Hundreds of nurses marched through downtown Vancouver today and rallied for safe staffing levels and safe patient care at the Art Gallery.
BC Nurses’ Union President Debra McPherson told the crowd “the healthcare system needs more nurses, not less. Patients need safe staffing levels. Without it, safe patient care is at risk.”
McPherson said patients are suffering because of health authorities’ callous disregard for everything but the bottom line.
“Patients are showing up at hospitals and can’t get a bed. Seriously ill patients are lying on stretchers in hallways. Some have died in the waiting rooms. Even in Surrey’s shiny new $500 million dollar hospital, they’re lined up in the halls and filling up the old emergency room.”
McPherson pointed to Vancouver Island, where a new cost-cutting care model has replaced nurses with care aides in Nanaimo, and next month 100 nurses will be removed from the bedside in Victoria.
“Make no mistake, health authorities are planning to do the same at hospitals across the province,” she warned.
Nurses say health authorities consistently break the collective agreement which requires them to replace nurses during absences.
“They’ve thumbed their noses at the contract and even try to discipline our members who speak out against unsafe patient care. I’m here to tell you, we will not be silenced. The BC Nurses’ Union will not be gagged, and we are not afraid to speak the truth about unsafe patient care.”
Her calls for safe staffing and safe patient care were echoed by Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Linda Haslam-Stroud, president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association and Heather Smith of the United Nurses of Alberta.