As we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers in BC are looking to leave the profession altogether.
A poll by the Hospital Employees’ Union has found more than 34% of health workers in the province want to leave their jobs.
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“There’s no question that many healthcare workers are at the breaking point, exhausted by all they’ve been through,” says Meena Brisard, the secretary-business manager for the HEU. “And we should all be very concerned about what that means for our healthcare system going forward.”
The HEU says the telephone survey of more than 800 members paints an alarming picture of the pressures facing those on the front lines today, and of our ability to retain and recruit healthcare workers in the future.
Three-quarters of those polled experienced pandemic-related burnout, and one-in-three do not believe there are adequate mental health supports in the workplace.
Nearly two-thirds (64.1%) say their workloads have gotten worse over the last two years, while a quarter (24.9%) report that their employer rarely or never backfills positions left vacant by illness or vacation.
According to the HEU, more than a third of health workers are also having a tough time keeping up with rising costs and are less financially secure than two years ago.
“Healthcare workers have carried the weight of this pandemic on their shoulders for all of us,” says Brisard. “Now is the time to recognize these workers with a wage and compensation package that puts them ahead and not behind.”
“If we want our healthcare system to survive and thrive in the face of public health emergencies, climate disasters and growing demographic pressures, we must act boldly to retain today’s skilled and experienced healthcare workforce, and to attract the next generation of healthcare workers.”