There has been a lot of talk recently about the looming shortage of nurses in Canada. I am not sure about the rest of Canada, but when it comes to New Brunswick I’ll remind you of the worry in the mid 1990s about the looming lack of teachers in rural Nova Scotia. At that time, a report was published that concluded that if nothing was done, Nova Scotia’s rural communities would face a serious shortage of teachers by the early 2000s. However, that report was updated last year and the researchers concluded that the decline in population is offsetting the decline in teachers so there is no crisis after all.
From my perspective, the same thing applies to nurses in New Brunswick. I believe we already have one of the highest ratios of nurses to population in Canada and the population is declining. Basic economics would indicate that we will need less nurses, not more in the coming years. Some would argue that we need more nurses to handle an aging population and other demographic factors. But if they money isn’t there to pay them, then it likely won’t happen.
A declining population will inevitably lead to a contraction of the public service including health care.
But if we turn things around…..