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June 21, 2010

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Unions table proposals to address health science professional shortages

BURNABY—The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association tabled proposals today at the bargaining table aimed at protecting and improving quality public health care in hospitals and communities across the province.

Two key proposals address continued problems health authorities have in recruiting and keeping the health science professionals critical to the modern health care team.

“Our health care system needs health science professionals to function properly,” said CUPE’s bargaining committee representative Frank DeWaard. “It’s vital that all parties work together to deal with staff shortages so that wait lists do not continue to grow longer.”

“The unions have tabled proposals that focus on these problems, and reflect a real commitment for an in-depth and detailed discussion about challenges in recruitment and retention. The ultimate goal is to have a creative discussion and develop strategies that address these continuing issues,” said DeWaard.

The proposal to address shortages calls for establishment of a working group to collect and analyze data to identify the disciplines, professions, and regions where staffing shortages exist. It will also explore factors that cause the shortages, including availability of training spaces; benefits such as vacation; scheduling; and support for professional development.

The working group would identify best practices and appropriate solutions to improve recruitment and retention in the health science professions.

The proposal on retention addresses members’ demonstrated commitment to career development. A working group is proposed to make recommendations to enhance career-laddering opportunities for health science professionals.

The working group would identify barriers to effective career-laddering and leadership positions for health science professions, and make proposals to remove those barriers and include more highly specialized health science proposals in leading the modern health care team.

Bargaining for a new collective agreement for B.C.’s health science professionals – the trusted members of the modern health care team who deliver the highly specialized diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation services patients depend on for their good health – began in April 2010. The collective agreement expired March 31, 2010. Bargaining will continue again in July.

The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association represents 17,000 health science professionals working in B.C. hospitals and communities. They are members of Health Sciences Association, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and Professional Employees’ Association.

Health Sciences Association (HSA) is the lead union, representing 16,000 health science professionals in the HSPBA. CUPE represents over 500 members in this bargaining association represented by CUPE Locals 15, 1978 and 4816.

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