Tom Shypitka. File photo

Wanted: nurses to live and work

MLA for Kootenay East Tom Shypitka believes the region offers what others can’t – affordable housing.

Promoting the Elk Valley as an attractive place for nurses to live and work has been pitched as a solution to an apparent shortage.

MLA for Kootenay East Tom Shypitka believes the region offers what others can’t – affordable housing.

“I think that’s where the main problem is right now, is getting nurses to come, and stay and live,” he said.

“When you talk about affordability throughout the province, I know Fernie, for example, is fairly high in affordability, but communities like Sparwood, Elkford (and) Cranbrook for the most part are actually fairly affordable compared to the rest of the province.

“We can bring that forward and package it up, and sell it as a very attractive place to come and work.”

Shypitka’s comments come after the 24-hour closure of the emergency department at the Elkford Health Centre on July 10 due to unexpected limited nurse availability.

The MLA said he would advocate to the B.C. Government that closures aren’t acceptable.

“Anytime that we have a disruption of services it impacts people and communities,” he said.

“Luckily this time it wasn’t a large impact, I think there was one person that was displaced, but it wasn’t so much an emergency, it wasn’t life threatening or anything like that. But that’s a slippery slope, it’s dangerous.”

Shypitka supports the BC Nurses’ Union’s proposal for a rural float pool, whereby nurses in a defined area move from one site to another according to shortages.

Last week, Interior Health confirmed it is actively exploring the idea, however, some challenges, such as availability of housing, have been identified.

Shypitka believes that’s where municipalities come in.

“Municipalities have to be prepared and have to get on board as well because we have to create housing spaces for some of these work pools that we’re talking about,” he said.

“There has to be places to rent a roof and affordable places.

“Municipalities have to be engaged, they have to have firm partnerships with provincial government and also with the BC Nurses’ Union.”

Prospective nurses can now complete their full four years of study, instead of two, at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, which the MLA hopes will also improve retention rates.

With an aging population, he believes the province needs to be proactive rather than reactive.

“The warning shot has been issued with a small closure,” he said.

“It was only one day but still, that could equate into something larger down the line and I think it will, so we’ve got to prepare for it.”

Just Posted

Fernie man receives federal fire service medal

Kim Sedrovic is retiring from Fernie Fire Rescue after 25 years with the service

Thrift shop turns five

Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society has raised $370,000 since inception

Elk Valley mayors to lead hospital district board

Dean McKerracher, David Wilks elected to Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board

Rezoning paves way for next stages of Montane Fernie

Multi-family units, cottages, recreational facilities planned as part of multimillion-dollar project

Ghostriders defuse Dynamiters at home

Game 13 proves unlucky for Mountain division leaders Kimberley

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read