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'Morally distressed': Nurses rally outside Victoria General Hospital over staffing shortages

Victoria General Hospital is pictured on May 4, 2021. (CTV News) Victoria General Hospital is pictured on May 4, 2021. (CTV News)

The BC Nurses Union organized a rally outside Victoria General Hospital Sunday afternoon, calling for Island Health and the province to address staffing shortages at the hospital.

The union said a shortage of nurses, an aging population and increased patient care needs have lead to “untenable conditions,” across the hospital, and especially in the emergency department.

Adding to the strain, Island Health said last week that the emergency room at Saanich Peninsula Hospital will close from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. for the next two months due to staffing shortages.

The health authority said an average of 13 patients attend SPH’s emergency room during those hours each day.

And now, ambulances are being diverted to Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital.

"We acknowledge this is not an ideal situation for the community and we sincerely apologize for this temporary service reduction," Marko Peljhan, Island Health's vice-president of clinical services for the region said last week.

“Nurses at Victoria General Hospital say they are morally distressed with what they are seeing unfold on almost every shift,” said BCNU vice president Adriane Gear in a news release.

“We are rallying today to let the public know that more needs to be done to keep them and their loved ones safe. Recruitment and retention strategies are critical to addressing the staffing shortage across the province. We need the government and health authorities to act now.”

The rally was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, and dozens of nurses and supporters were expected to attend. Top Stories

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