Nurses' OT $33.7M

Winnipeg Sun, April 19, 2007
A shortage of nurses has resulted in $33.7 million being paid out in overtime costs over the last five years, according to information obtained by the Tories from a freedom of information request. Since 2001, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has spent $29 million on nursing overtime and nearly $5 million on private duty nursing. "NDP Health Minister Theresa Oswald is trying to create the illusion that her government has fixed the nursing shortage," said Tory health critic Myrna Driedger. "However, nursing overtime and the use of private duty nurses by the WRHA paint a very different picture." Oswald said the Tories are to blame for the high overtime costs because when they were in power they shrunk the work force. "It has taken us seven years to turn that horrid decision around of firing 1,500 nurses," said Oswald. The NDP government has increased the amount of nursing positions, but there's still much work to be done, said Oswald.