For Immediate Release
8 December, 2023
Jim Dinn (St. John’s Centre), Leader of Newfoundland and Labrador’s NDP, is calling on government to provide an update on the retention of registered nurses and the costs of private agency nurses in the public healthcare system. The call comes after government blamed their reliance on private agency nurses to deliver vaccines to public servants at the Confederation Complex on the lack of available public healthcare nurses.
“It’s time for the government to say clearly and plainly how many nursing vacancies we have, and how the recruitment effort has been proceeding. We want to know when we will be able to phase out the reliance of private agency nurses in public healthcare,” said Dinn. “The Minister of Health during his action updates has tried to paint a rosy picture about nursing recruitment. But just last week he admitted that there were not enough public nurses to offer a vaccine clinic for public servants, as has been done for years. Which is it? Has the government improved working conditions for public healthcare workers? Or is government giving workers little choice in where they work by failing to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve?”
Dinn is calling for a clear timeline to end the use of private agency nurses and a detailed breakdown of anticipated costs until that time comes. Recently, health agencies in New Brunswick announced timelines on when the use of private agency nurses will end in that province.
“It’s concerning that we’re seeing other provinces of similar size, in the Atlantic region commit to ending their use of private agency nurses. However, the Newfoundland and Labrador government doesn’t have a grasp on the situation to have enough public healthcare workers so public healthcare can function as it’s intended,” Dinn said. “The public also needs to know how much money is spent on private agency nurses. For the Eastern region, that data isn’t available – it’s like government wrote a blank cheque to for-profit healthcare. This is especially concerning when in five months New Brunswick spent $57 million on private agency nurses.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org