ST. JOHN'S – Today NDP Leader Alison Coffin announced New Democrats will put an end to constant understaffing that hurts health care workers and the patients who rely on them.
"People in this province are suffering the consequences of Liberal and Conservative governments' choice to neglect health care workers. They are constantly overworked and understaffed, and these valuable workers and their patients are paying the price," said Coffin.
"During the pandemic, they showed up for work on the frontlines every day while we stayed at home with our families. New Democrats are actually going to listen to health care workers and patients. We will work with public sector unions and professional organizations to ensure we hire more LPNs, PCAs, nurses and paramedics."
CUPE members working in long-term care reported that they were mandated to stay at work for up to 24 hours due to staff shortages.
"When we expect people to work themselves into exhaustion they burn out and that makes the staffing shortage even worse. Not only is this bad for their mental and physical health, it's bad for the people relying on them to get and stay well. Patients will suffer if the government keeps treating health care workers as a line item in a budget," said Coffin. "New Democrats have their backs."
New Democrats point out that there are not enough paramedics either. A report made public last month revealed there were more than 2000 instances in a 12-month period where there was no ambulance available for an emergency call.
"People are calling for an ambulance and then being forced to wait an absurd period of time for a paramedic to arrive. The helplessness that both paramedics and patients are feeling is unacceptable," said Coffin. "We have to ensure services are there when they're needed and that health care workers are supported in their very difficult work."