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  • Trevor Greenway

Nursing shortage worst in province

There are less than five nurses for every 1,000 residents in the Outaouais — the lowest ratio among health regions across the entire province. The region is also the only area that experienced a drop in nursing positions over the past year.

The latest data comes from the Order of Nurses of Quebec’s (OIIQ) report, published in late November, which shines a light on the major health crisis facing the Outaouais.

According to the report, there were just 4.97 nurses in the Outaouais providing direct care to the

The number is well below the provincial average of 7.7 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants, highlighting years of underfunding in the Outaouais. A 2018 Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS) report found that the Outaouais was underfunded by $250 million compared to similar regions in Quebec.

The region’s health authority said it is not surprised by these numbers, as nursing has been taking a hit in the Outaouais for some time.

“We are very aware of this reality, which is experienced on a daily basis in the various teams throughout the territory,” said Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSS de l’Outaouais) spokesperson Camille Brochu-Lafrance.

The Outaouais was the only region in Quebec that saw a decline in nursing positions, according to the QIIQ report, and Brochu-Lafrance said that career choices, retirement and relocation are the top reasons nurses are leaving the area.