Rollout of nurse 'float pool' raises questions on P.E.I.
Nurses' union wants to be consulted
The P.E.I. government received pushback in the legislature Friday for one of its strategies aimed to fill gaps in the health-care system.
The plan, announced in the budget last week, is to create a float pool of about 25 registered nurses, assigned to fill short-term vacancies based on the province's most urgent needs.
But Liberal MLA and former health minister Robert Henderson said nurses have told him these float positions don't work, especially when there are already more than 100 vacant full-time positions.
Ernie Hudson, the current minister of health, said he has confidence in the rollout of the new program.
"When we put in place a new program, take a look at new ideas, think outside of the box, will there have to be adjustments made as we move forward? Absolutely, there may have to be," he told the legislature.
"Just how those float nurses' positions will be allocated across the province, that will be under the leadership and the guidance of Health P.E.I."
Officials with the P.E.I. Nurses' Union said they have a lot of questions about the plan. Executive director Stephanie Gallant said the union wants to be consulted on how this float pool would work.
"It is worth exploring, for sure. I think it was preemptive to put it into the budget and indicate to the public that there were going to be 25 new RNs when they haven't even been able to fill the vacancies that we have."
Gallant said the hiring process also needs to be simplified, which would help attract nurses from out of province to help fill the many vacancies across the Island.
With files from Angela Walker