The number of foreign-educated nurses newly registered in British Columbia this year has more than doubled from last year, as the province makes progress on a $1-billion, multi-year plan to attract more health-care workers.
The first yearly update on B.C.’s health human resources strategy says 578 internationally educated nurses became fully registered in the province in 2023 compared with 288 in 2022.
Staffing shortfalls have been blamed for a series of health-care woes across the province, including emergency room closures, overcrowding and hundreds of thousands of people going without a family doctor.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province needs to “dramatically” increase the number of family doctors and other health-care professionals to keep up with expected population growth and close gaps in the system.
“We are targeting to add family doctors at a remarkable rate in B.C. to reduce the number of people unattached,” Dix said at a news conference Monday.
Dix said the average family doctor cares for about 1,250 patients while a nurse practitioner has about 1,000 patients.
“That’s how many doctors you need to meet 250,000 (more people) and we’re going to see continuing growth,” he said.