Urgent care nurses call on province to give same pay bump provided to ER nurses

A group of nurses is calling out the provincial government, saying they are not doing enough to address staffing shortages in Manitoba.

"Our health care system is in chaos," reads a letter from eighty five urgent care nurses from Concordia, Seven Oaks and Victoria hospitals.

"Nurses are constantly working short staffed and being mandated with no end in site, resulting in burnout.”

The group is asking the province why urgent care nurses are being excluded from a pay premium that ER nurses started receiving in mid-August.

They say the extra $6 an hour will help to address staffing shortages as "ER and UC wait times are at an all-time high,” adding that hallway medicine is a common occurrence.

According to the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP), staffing shortages are currently being experienced across the healthcare system.

"We cannot continue to undergo inaction on such severe short staffing. It has to happen now. We have to get our health care system back to being healthy because it's not,” said MAHCP President Bob Moroz.

During a Thursday news conference, the Manitoba NDP asked why the province isn't implementing the pay increase to all nursing staff.

"You're alienating nurses that we need to keep on the job and on a policy level, you're ignoring one of the strongest tools - a financial incentive - that we have to address the staffing crisis,” said Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Audrey Gordon acknowledged the nursing staff shortage facing Manitoba.

"We're working to increase capacity. We're working to increase the number of nurses that are in our system,” Gordon said.

The province said on Thursday it could not comment on providing a pay premium to urgent care nurses, citing ongoing talks with the nurses union on a new contract.

In a statement provided to CTV News, Manitoba Shared Health said Thursday that comprehensive negotiations continue.

"We look forward to resolving the remainder of the outstanding proposals, which include general wage increases with retroactive effect and other monetary proposals,” the statement read.