Manitoba nurses say they ‘desperately need better resources and support’ to fight COVID-19

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More than 1,500 Manitoba nurses are raising their voices in solidarity with doctors and calling on the province to do more to stem the tide of COVID-19.In a letter sent to Premier Brian Pallister and Health Minister Cameron Friesen on Sunday evening, nurses expressed desperation, calling on officials to take stronger action, including locking down the province and acting quickly to “alleviate the burden on our already overburdened health care system. . ”

A nurse who helped write the letter says that a key issue is that nurses are not included in decisions made about the health care system, but are made for them.

“I think we just don’t feel heard as health care providers in general,” said the nurse, whom the CBC has agreed not to name because they fear being punished for. to have denounced.

“Nobody asks the front line when they’re making these changes…. Now we’re stuck with minimal staff, minimal ICU beds, feeling like we can triple the ICU beds, but at what cost?

Patients and healthcare workers are paying the price, says the nurse.

“It was terrifying, to be honest…. We are under-staffed for most of our shifts because the staff are either exhausted from working so much or we have sick calls due to COVID exposures.

The nurses’ letter comes a week after doctors in Manitoba voiced concerns in their own letter, urging the province to adopt the following recommendations province-wide for three weeks:

  • Close all non-essential retail and service businesses and impose stricter occupancy limits on essential retail and service establishments.
  • Suspend secondary and post-secondary classroom education in favor of virtual learning. Elementary schools and kindergartens could remain open.
  • Implement a 14-day self-isolation requirement for all out-of-province travelers and visitors.
  • Limit gatherings of any kind to household members only.
  • Outsource COVID-19 Testing to Improve Capacity and Reduce Current Hospital Burden
    laboratories.

The provincial health minister faced backlash for his response to the letter when he suggested that doctors “were causing chaos”. Friesen later said he regretted his choice of words, but refused to apologize.

Sunday’s letter comes “as an act of unequivocal support for the position our doctors and doctorate colleagues have taken,” nurses wrote.

“Those of us who work on the front lines feel that the plans our colleagues have developed are essential in enabling our health care system to survive this pandemic. We fully support these recommendations. ”

“We desperately need better resources and better support throughout our health care system. ”

In addition, nurses call on government to increase testing capacity, resources, personal protective equipment and supplies for the health system as more staff test positive for COVID-19 .

According to the nurse who helped write the letter, all they ask for is support.

“Our job as nurses is to advocate for patients, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We want the public to know that we hear you as nurses and that we are doing our best, but we need this government to support us, our physician colleagues and all the other frontline workers in the health care system. ”

Read the letter to the Premier and Minister of Health from Manitoba nurses:

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