05/22/2015 07:00 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT

Staffing shortages blamed for empty beds at Newfoundland long-term care home

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister says staffing shortages are to blame for 30 empty beds at a new long-term care home.

Steve Kent says a combination of retirements, resignations and recruitment challenges are making it hard to fill positions at the facility in Pleasantville.

The home opened last September but is yet to operate at full capacity because of a shortage of licensed practical nurses.

Kent says an average of five workers leave the facility a month.

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says the facility is being run on overtime, while the NDP member Lorraine Michael says staffing is so tight vacations are being denied.

Kent says while recruitment efforts continue, graduation rates for licensed practical nurses and patient care assistants have declined in the province. (VOCM)