OUR VIEW: Needs of mothers and babies in Surrey must come first

Is there anyone more vulnerable and needing of proper attention than newborn babies and mothers about to give birth?

The B.C. Nurses Union raised the alarm this week that a "staffing nightmare" in Surrey Memorial Hospital’s birthing unit, the busiest in B.C., has seen 30 nurses quit over the last two years. The union says managers regularly staff the unit with 14 to 15 nurses on the nightshift, not the required 21. Short staffing has led to admission delays and incomplete assessments, according to the BCNU, and an inability to provide patients with enough post-partum education. The union also claims nurses often don’t take breaks and are at times reduced to tears due to the overwhelming workload.

In reply, Fraser Health says 10 more nurses are currently being trained for the maternity ward.

Roughly 4,200 babies are born in the unit each year. It is hallowed ground, not a battleground. Both employer and union must remember that.

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