B.C. nurses union says Interior Health failing Kamloops hospital workers during pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. nurses union says Interior Health failing Kamloops hospital workers during pandemic

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The B.C. Nurses Union has some scathing criticism of Interior Health's handling of frontline workers during the pandemic, pointing to an outbreak of COVID-19 at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops as an example of the dire impact the pandemic is having on nurses.

In a news release, BCNU said health employers and the government have neglected the safety of nurses and frontline health care workers battling the virus.

The union points to Royal Inland Hospital, saying nurses haven't had "unfettered" access to COVID-19 protective equipment. The union also claimed nurses at RIH are dangerously understaffed, pointing out they are suffering from the psychological impact of managing the crisis.

READ MORE: Surgeries postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops's hospital

The union said staffing shortages created by nurses self-isolating because they have become infected with COVID-19 are causing problems like the postponement of day surgeries that require an overnight stay at RIH.

"In Kamloops, nurses at Ponderosa Lodge have had their cars vandalized. In Kelowna, nurses are being told there is a six-year wait for a parking spot close to their worksite which would mean a safe walk to their vehicles,” BCNU president Christine Sorensen said in the release. “We know nurses are giving all of themselves, but yet, health employers are offering up very few solutions on how best to take care of their own staff.”

The union has called on Health Minister Adrian Dix to work with them on how to make sure nurses have the support they need.

READ MORE: Healthcare workers' vehicles vandalized at Kamloops long-term care facility

“Nurses want to provide safe care, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult as they face an uphill battle,” Sorensen said. “There needs to be a better plan in place to support those who have been sacrificing so much."

No one at Interior Health was immediately available for comment.

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