BC Care Providers Association recently launched a heat map to illustrate the staffing shortages for licensed practical nurses and health care assistants. (BC Care Providers Association)

Okanagan faces nursing shortfall for long-term care

There are currently 95.6 job vacancies for health care assistants and 24.7 job vacancies for nurses

The Okanagan is currently facing a nursing shortage for long-term care and it doesn’t appear the issue will be resolved anytime soon.

According to the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA), there are currently 95.6 job vacancies for health care assistants and 24.7 job vacancies for licensed practical nurses in the Okanagan.

While the Okanagan is struggling to fill these jobs, other regions in the province are facing an even more severe shortfall, which the organization describes as a “crisis.”

For example, the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region currently needs to fill 106.5 job vacancies for health care assistants, while the South Island needs to fill 25.4 job vacancies for licensed practical nurses.

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The staffing shortage is so wide spread, the BCCPA recently decided to launch a ‘heat map’ to illustrate the need.

“The staffing crisis faced by B.C.’s seniors care sector is symptomatic of a failure to activate a comprehensive health human resources strategy,” said Aly Devji, president of the organization. “What the heat map illustrates is that the staffing shortages problem is widespread and growing to several parts of the province.

“Our aim now as a sector should be to implement solutions.”

Since 2018, the organization said it has undertaken multiple measures to analyze and resolve B.C.’s health human resources crisis.

These include hosting an sector-wide collaboration with care providers, government, labour unions and training colleges. It has also published two reports outlining the scale of the crisis and provided 10 recommendations on how to resolve it.

It also established a $25,000 bursary program in partnership with Okanagan College and partnered with Health Match BC to design a recruitment campaign.

The organization hopes the heat map will put pressure on the government to implement its recommendations and resolve the staffing problem.

An interview request to the ministry of health was not immediately returned.


Paul Clarke
Assistant bureau chief, B.C. Interior South Division
Email me at paul.clarke@blackpress.ca
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