The province needs more nurses

Building thousands of assisted living beds has not addressed the needs of those who require more care than can be managed in assisted living

Re: Facing new health care realities, Editorial (Feb. 8)

I agree that hallway nursing is not safe for patients. I agree that there are challenges, but I believe that the unsustainability of medicare is a myth.

To quote Dr. Robert Evans, UBC economist, that “Medicare spending now takes up about the same share of provincial revenues it did 20 years ago. The problem isn’t uncontrolled public health care spending. It’s uncontrolled private health spending combined with a drop in provincial revenues created by large tax cuts over the years.”

I would also point out that hospital closures such as St. Mary’s and downsizing such as Mission Memorial continue to have a current impact on capacity in Fraser Health.

Building thousands of assisted living beds has not addressed the needs of those who require more care than can be managed in assisted living.

The latest reports from Canadian Institute for Health Information state that the RN per population figure for B.C. remains the lowest in Canada at 682 per 100,000.

When we look at the place of work in 2010 it reports that RN numbers working in community health dropped from 4,859 to 2,907; and numbers working in residential care facilities went from 3,038 to 1,936.

I am a community RN. I make the difference between someone living in their own home or needing a nursing home or a higher care setting such as a hospital. When you remove trained nurses who “rescue” those who are becoming ill by predicting, preventing and managing patient health, you have overcapacity in hospitals.

Helen Esau Ho

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