Health Care in the North is facing its own unique set of issues following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the efforts made in the past few months to flatten the curve, Northern Health is still facing serious staffing issues, according to Christine Sorensen, President of the British Columbia Nurses Union.

“Each and every day I hear from nurses that are at their breaking point, who are unable to provide the patient care that patients deserve in this province,” said Sorensen, “a severe shortage of  nurses in the North and understaffing increases workloads drastically.”

According to Sorensen, many health care centres in the North are operating with 25% less nursing staff than necessary.

“Along with that comes issues to rural and remote communities who often don’t have the resources that they need to care for patients who may be admitted with COVID.”

Sorensen explained that there is a serious concern for remote communities that are understaffed and under-resourced in their ability to provide safe patient care for those presenting COVID symptoms.

A temporary ‘working short’ premium is currently in effect, which is a penalty paid to nurses for failure to appropriately staff the health care system.

“When nurses are recieving this working short premium, it is acknowledgement that they do not have the appropriate staffing levels to safely care for patients.”

Sorensen added that nurses would prefer to have enough other staff so they can safely complete their work.