Home Business & Economy Health Care Sector Allied health & clinical support workers key to health-care system functionality

Allied health & clinical support workers key to health-care system functionality

Up to $8,000/yr for workers in rural & remote communities.

lab tech, health care, worker
Lab technician in the BC health-care system. [web]

Wednesday May 1, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Health-care personnel who work as skilled technicians and lab support workers are in many ways the lynch pin of the modern health-care system. Without the scans, tests and systems that they operate, the work of doctors and nurses might grind to a halt.

Today Health Minister Adrian Dix announced a $155.7 million investment in retaining, training and recruiting allied health and clinical support staff for the BC health-care system.

adrian dix, health minister
Health Minister Adrian Dix in the BC Legislative Assembly on April 29, 2024. [Hansard livestream]

The funding is part of the province’s Health Human Resources Strategy and the Allied Health Strategic Plan that has been developed while Dix has been health minister now seven years.

Critical to strengthening the system:

“Supporting the allied health-care workforce is critical to strengthening our public health-care system,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

The $155.7 million in initiatives that will retain and recruit allied health and clinical support staff includes up to $73.1 million for retention and recruitment incentives to expand the Provincial Rural Retention Incentive and provide signing bonuses for those who fill high-needs vacancies.

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Rural component expanded:

Effective April 1, 2024, the Provincial Rural Retention Incentive for health-care workers living and working in rural and remote communities was expanded.

All occupations working in eligible communities, including those represented by the Health Sciences Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA/HSA), Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) and Community Bargaining Association (CBA) will receive the incentive, totalling up to $8,000 per year per person.

Eligible rural communities are listed by BC Health as:

  • Fraser Health: Hope
  • Interior Health: Fernie, Elkfordm, Sparwood, Invermere, Creston, Golden, Kootenay Lake, Nelson, Castlegar, Arrow Lakes, Keremeos, PRincton, Enderby, Revelstoke, 100 Mile House, Clearwater, Williams Lake, Lillooet, Lytton, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, Merritt, Grand Forks, Kettle Valley.
  • Island Health: Salt Spring, Pender, Galiano, Mayne, Saturna, Bamfield, Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, Gold River, Mt Waddington, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeill.
  • Northern Health: Stewart, Houston, Smithers, Kitimat, Atlin, Dease Lake, Terrace, Quesnel, Burns Lake, Fort St James, Fraser Lake, Granisle, Vanderhoof, Mackenzie, McBride, Valemount, Daajing Glids, Masset, Port Clements, Prince Ripert, Port Edward, New Hazelton, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge, Fort St John, Hudson’s Hope, Fort Nelson.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: Bella Coola, Bella Bella, Powell River City, qathet, Gibsons, Sechelt.
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Signing bonus:

As stated in a BC Health news release today:

“To support recruitment of allied health and clinical support workers, signing bonuses will be available for staff who fill high-needs vacancies in priority occupations in rural and remote areas, difficult-to-fill vacancies in urban and metro communities, and for medical lab technologists who join GoHealth BC, a travel health-care program that sends health-authority staff on short-term deployments to rural and remote communities.”

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Mentorship & transition-to-practice:

To support retention and career development, the Province is providing up to $15 million over three years for allied health clinical mentorship, peer support and transition-to-practice support for allied health new entrants, including new graduates and internationally educated allied health professionals.

Professional development & mental health:

In addition, the Province is providing $20 million each to the HSPBA, CBA and FBA for a total investment of $60 million to deliver supports for professional development, mental health and wellness to their members.

Tuition & training:

Up to $7.6 million will be provided for training initiatives, including tuition credits, bursaries to offset licensing exam fees for new graduates and new employer-sponsored earn-and-learn opportunities.

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Big picture:

This work is part of the Allied Health Strategic Plan, which highlights 42 actions from B.C.’s Health Human Resources (HHR) Strategy and introduces 15 new actions to advance retention, recruitment, training and innovation initiatives that directly benefit the allied health workforce in B.C.

The HHR Strategy advances 70 actions to retain, recruit and train health-care workers in B.C., while supporting innovative health-system redesign and optimization.

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