BC becomes first province in Canada to implement new nurse-to-patient ratios

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The Province, the BC Nurses’ Union and the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) have achieved a new staffing model and more supports for nurses to strengthen B.C.’s health-care system and patient care.

The Province will invest in the implementation of the new nurse-to-patient care model, the first of its kind in Canada. This model will allow nurses to spend more time with the people they care for and provide better, more person-focused services.

“We know the central role that nurses play in providing safe, high-quality, compassionate care,” said Premier David Eby. “This new staffing model will transform the way people are cared for by nurses as they will spend more dedicated time with patients. We also know that staffing shortages and public-health crises have significantly increased the volume of work that nurses do every day. To recognize that, our supports for nurses have also significantly increased, so nurse can focus on what they do best – care for people.”

“We are pleased to join the Ministry of Health in announcing this historic investment in B.C.’s nurses,” said Aman Grewal, president, BC Nurses’ Union. “In combination with increased wages for our members, contained in the tentative agreement, we believe today’s announcement will encourage the levels of recruitment and retention necessary to significantly improve the current working conditions for nurses and quality of care for patients in this province. Nurse-patient ratios will result in better patient outcomes, better working conditions for nurses and will have a positive impact on our nurse recruitment and retention strategies making B.C. the best place in North America to work as a nurse.”

A provincial executive steering committee comprised of members from the Ministry of Health and the NBA will oversee the implementation of the model. Once fully implemented, it will be used by licensed practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and registered nurses across all sectors of care, such as hospital, community and long-term care.

To support this new model, the Province and the NBA will work together on a national and international recruitment strategy, a retention strategy, expanded education supports and opportunities and a strong and reliable allied health and support teams.

“The BC Nurses’ Union welcomes this historic investment in nurses,” said Jim Gould, interim CEO, BC Nurses’ Union. “BCNU has been calling for nurse-patient ratios for more than two decades and believes they increase quality of care and decrease patient mortality. We’re excited to witness the successful implementation of nurse-patient ratios as we move forward.”

This announcement builds on B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, which fosters workforce satisfaction and innovation to ensure health services are accessible to everybody in B.C., now and in the future. The strategy advances 70 actions to retain, recruit, and train health-care workers in B.C. while supporting innovative health-system redesign and optimization.

This is in addition to the tentative agreement reached under the Shared Recovery Mandate that supports government’s key priorities to improve public services and the health-care system, while supporting the Province’s continued economic recovery for all.