Interior Health hires more nurses to address staffing shortages at Kamloops hospital | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health hires more nurses to address staffing shortages at Kamloops hospital

Royal Inland Hospital.

With staffing shortages caused by wildfires and a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Interior, the governing health authority has hired additional staff for the Kamloops hospital.

A lack of healthcare professionals in the region has led to shortened hours at clinics in Ashcroft, Lillooet and Merritt, putting extra strain on the nearest hospital, Royal Inland Hospital, said Thompson Nicola Regional District board chair Ken Gillis, in a previous interview with iNFOnews, 

A 70-year-old woman also died while waiting for care at the Kamloops hospital this week. British Columbia's health minister Adrian Dix said the government will review the death.

READ MORE: B.C. to review death of 70-year-old woman at Kamloops hospital

In a statement issued by Interior Health, the health authority said it reviews all unexpected deaths that occur in the hospital and staffing levels are included in that review. It is also working with the Ministry of Health and other health authorities to address the staffing issues and recruit new healthcare workers.

So far, two new permanent nurses have been hired for the emergency department and four temporary agency nurses are being brought in to support permanent staff in the hospital’s emergency department. More will be brought on as needed, according to the health authority.

The health authority is also redeploying and reassigning clinical staff to the emergency department and other areas in the hospital that need additional support, according to its statement.

“Since June 5, nine new registered nurses have joined the emergency department, including five permanent full-time, one permanent part-time and three casual,” according to the health authority.

“Interior Health has invested $1 million in new funding this year, specifically to add staff to the RIH emergency department. This includes a RN patient care coordinator for night shifts, an additional RN and licensed practical nurse for the daytime/evening shift and an additional registered practical nurse on days.”

The health authority is also establishing a central recruitment team that is dedicated to streamlining the hiring process and filling vacant positions faster.

The health authority noted a full staffing complement on nights in the RIH emergency department is 11 registered nurses, one registered psychiatric nurse and one licensed practical nurse.

“We are always working to ensure shifts are filled, but there are times when the ED is below its regular staffing,” according to the health authority.

"This is a matter I've been attempting to take up with Ministry of Health since the middle of August. Unfortunately, (Minister Adrian Dix) has chosen not to return my calls," Mayor Ken Christian told, Friday, Sept. 10. "And I'm more than frustrated by that because the situation continues to deteriorate and I believe that we need some intervention from the ministry."

READ MORE: Kamloops mayor 'more than frustrated' by lack of communication from health officials


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