A new poll conducted by the B.C. Hospital Employees’ Union has found one-in-three health-care workers are likely to quit their jobs within the next two years.
The telephone survey of 802 HEU members also found that three-quarters of health-care workers have experienced pandemic-related burnout. More than a third of those polled say they are less financially secure than two years ago, and a quarter of respondents say they’re concerned about keeping their current housing situation due to financial strain.
“There’s no question that many health care workers are at the breaking point, exhausted by all they’ve been through,” HEU secretary-business manager Meena Brisard said. “And we should all be very concerned about what that means for our health care system going forward.”
That exhaustion is exacerbated by a shortage of healthcare workers in the system. One-quarter of survey respondents said their employer rarely or never backfills positions left vacant by illness or vacation and nearly two-thirds say their workloads have gotten worse over the last two years.
A majority of health-care workers have reported their ability to concentrate has been negatively impacted, with 60 per cent saying they are having trouble focusing. The pandemic has also negatively impacted empathy (52 per cent), alertness (66 per cent) and motivation (67 per cent).
Brisard is calling for an improved wage and compensation package to help retain health-care workers and reverse the trend of pandemic burnout in the health-care sector. The HEU is one of many unions currently negotiating a new agreement with the provincial government. Their current agreement expires March 31.
“If we want our health care system to survive and thrive in the face of public health emergencies, climate disasters and growing demographic pressures, we must act boldly to retain today’s skilled and experienced health care workforce, and to attract the next generation of health care workers.”
The HEU represents some 58,000 facilities workers across the sector.
The random phone survey of 802 health care workers took place between February 22 and March 2 and is accurate to within +/- 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. It was carried out by Viewpoints Research under commission by the HEU.