COLUMN: Premier Houston on healthcare worker retention

Premier Tim Houston. (Communications N.S photo)

The following column is a new monthly piece that is being submitted by Premier Tim Houston to community news outlets across the province.

The last few years have been long and hard, especially for our healthcare workers. They have contributed so much and sacrificed so much to keep us healthy and safe. Working through a pandemic … hurricanes … staff shortages.

But they’ve kept going. As their workloads grow and staff shortages persist. Our healthcare teams – nurses, paramedics, telehealth staff, continuing care staff, ward clerks, housekeeping and food service staff and so many others – take it all on with a ‘do not quit’ attitude.

To say thank you, we are giving up to $10,000 bonuses to nurses working in our publicly-funded healthcare system. There is more on the table for nurses who commit to continue working in the province. We are also giving $5,000 bonuses to many other healthcare workers in recognition of their important contributions. 

I expect about 55,000 people across the province already have or will soon get a bonus. Almost 23,000 of these people work in the central zone of the province, including Halifax Regional Municipality.

Our nurses and healthcare teams do an amazing job, day in and day out. They have earned these bonuses, and I’m proud to recognize them and their commitment. I want them all to know that we appreciate them. 

When I said our government would do what it takes to fix our healthcare challenges, I meant it. We are making progress, but transformational change takes time. 

I want our healthcare workers and team members to know that we are grateful, we value their commitment and we need them. Money isn’t everything, but it’s something. It’s one way to show our appreciation, to help keep people or to help bring them back.

This is how we fix healthcare. One solution at a time. Whether it’s investing in more doctors, more medical, nursing and paramedic school seats, building and improving healthcare facilities, embracing virtual care or expanding the role of professionals like nurse practitioners and pharmacists – every effort counts.

We’re taking an all-hands-on-deck approach today and over the long term. We will continue to listen and make the changes needed. Every change is a step forward toward our common goal – a better healthcare system for Nova Scotians. 

We know there is a lot more we can do to improve our healthcare system for patients and those working in it. We won’t stop until the work is done.

Tim Houston

Premier of Nova Scotia