Military struggling with shortage of medical personnel as provinces look for help

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces says its medical personnel are being stretched to the limit during the pandemic, suggesting it has little to offer provincial health care systems overwhelmed by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

A growing number of provinces are being forced to resort to extreme measures to ensure they have enough nurses and doctors to care for patients as the number of severe cases of COVID-19 continues to climb.

The military has stepped up to help provinces in the past, with about 200 non-medical personnel currently supporting vaccination efforts in Quebec by filling various administrative and logistical roles.

Yet the Armed Forces could be hard-pressed to deploy trained medical personnel as Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says it currently has only half the required number of doctors to meet its own requirements.

Le Bouthillier says the military also has only 75 per cent of the nurses and 65 per cent of the medical technicians needed to provide health care to Canadian Armed Forces members at home and overseas, which is their primary job.

The military is supposed to have a total of 2,500 medical personnel, of which around 460 are doctors and nurses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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