VANCOUVER, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - BC's Interior Health Authority is paying
thousands of dollars in additional costs to recruit ultrasound
technologists from private, for-profit clinics to work in IHA hospitals
because the government has refused to address a critical shortage of
ultrasound technologists in BC, Reid Johnson, President of the Health
Sciences Association of BC said today.
"The government's failure to have an effective recruitment and retention
strategy has resulted in a crisis that IHA is now scrambling to find a
"The solution is simple. Train the health science professionals you need
to deliver the services required in a modern health care system, and
pay them a competitive wage to attract and keep them working where they
are needed," Johnson said.
HSA represents ultrasound technologists working in public health care
facilities throughout the province. Johnson said the union has been
warning the provincial government for years that a long-standing
shortage of ultrasound technologists was approaching critical levels.
BC ultrasound technologists are among the lowest paid in Canada. For
example, the starting wage for an entry-level ultrasound technologist
is more than $6 an hour lower in BC than in Alberta.
"We're constantly hearing from members in IHA that when their hospital
is finally able to find a new ultrasound technologist, that person
leaves after a short time because they discover the wages and working
conditions are so much better in Alberta."
"We have been urging the Ministries of Health and Advanced Education for
several years to work together to increase the number of training
spaces in BC for ultrasound technologists," says Johnson. BCIT is
currently the only location in the province that trains these health
"BCIT recently changed their program from a 1-year to a 2-year program,"
says Johnson. "That means there are no new graduates for a 1-year
period, and that will make the current crisis even worse. BC needs to
establish another ultrasound training program immediately."
HSA has been successful in convincing government to establish new
training programs for other health science professions that are in
short supply, such as medical laboratory technologists and x-ray
"These programs have been established outside of the Lower Mainland to
increase the number of new grads who'll stay to practice in underserved
areas of the province, like the Interior and the North," says Johnson.
"This is what's needed for ultrasound as well. And to retain these new
BC grads, and recruit ultrasound technologists from other provinces, BC
must offer competitive wages and working conditions."
SOURCE Health Sciences Association of British Columbia
For further information:
Miriam Sobrino, Director of Communications, Tel: 604.439.0994 / Cell: 604.328.2886