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Prioritizing Travel Nurses is Bleeding Public Healthcare of Funding and Local Staff

For Immediate Release

15 June, 2023

NL NDP Leader Jim Dinn (St. John’s Centre) is calling on the provincial government to focus on retaining local nurses and to stop prioritizing the hiring of private agency nurses as the solution. A recent access to information report produced a heavily redacted Direction Note from the Department of Health and Community Services that said the equivalent cost for registered nurses contracted by private agency will cost the province $18.4M as opposed to $4.1M if the registered nurses were employed under public health over a 12 month period. The increased costs equate to 449% of what it would cost the province to employ public nurses.

“We would not have to pay an extra $14.3 million dollars if government had been focussing on the reasons why nurses are leaving the public system – wages and work life balance,” said Dinn. “Every deal a private healthcare provider signs has a profit margin included and this is bad news for our public health care system,” said Dinn. “Every deal a private healthcare provider signs has a profit margin included. Government should focus on what is enticing nurses to work for private agencies and offer that to make this work life balance better by reinvesting the savings in public health.”

Earlier this year it was reported that there are 752 nursing vacancies in Newfoundland and Labrador, this was a 22% increase in vacancies over a six-month period. To date, there has been no real action from the government to indicate this trend is reversing.

“The reliance on private agency nurses is continuing to bleed nurses from the public healthcare system,” said Dinn. “Government is increasing tensions in health care settings and is not addressing the failure to retain public health care workers.


For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or

NR 14062023 Travel Nurse Focus Bleeding Healthcare of Funding and Local Staff
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