Friday, July 16, 2021

Invest in people to improve health care system

Throughout the province we’re witnessing our health care system at a crossroads.
Emergency Room are reducing hours and closing on weekends. The system doesn’t have enough health care professionals to cover vacations, and many are in need of a break after being on the front lines of the pandemic.
We’re at the breaking point and not just because of the pandemic. This situation has been brewing for years with successive governments ignoring the issue: a lack of staff compounded by the inability to recruit more health care professionals.
Given that the health and safety of its citizens should be the top priority for any government, what solutions has government come up with? Basically, it amounts to we need these professionals to do more with less staff and less resources.
Simply put, it’s a losing proposition, and one that’s been proven to be ineffective given the current state of affairs.
Health care staff have done a tremendous job keeping the system operating in these constraints, but inevitably the stress put on the system will cause it to crack.
What is needed it more staff and resources to properly run the health care system. In this regard, the solution is clear. We need to recruit more health care professionals to live and work in our province. To do that, we must offer them salaries that are competitive with our neighbouring provinces.
Both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island recently reached new collective bargaining agreements unions representing healthcare workers. Those deals included wage increases to keep their people working in the province and to attract others.
New Brunswick has gone a different route asking for wage freezes and adjustments below the cost of living. This will only exacerbate the problem we’re currently facing.
We need to invest in people. Invest in the professionals who helped guide us through a worldwide health crisis.
New Brunswick public servants working in health care and social services are the lowest paid in Canada according to Statistics Canada, continuing that trend with an ever-increasing aging population is a recipe for disaster.
The solution is to invest in people because the alternative has proven to be the wrong course of action.