Campaign launched to save G.F. Strong
Health care unions, B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities call for provincial agency to oversee rehab services The Hospital Employees' Union, the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities and the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union have launched a province-wide campaign highlighting the critical role rehabilitation plays in our health care system and calling for improved rehab and maintenance services for people with disabilities. The campaign was sparked by a recent Vancouver/Richmond Health Board proposal to close the G.F. Strong Centre and relocate its services to the George Pearson Centre. "The health board must set aside this misguided proposal which undermines access to rehab services for all British Columbians," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "Instead, we're calling for the creation of a provincial rehab agency with a concrete, province-wide mandate to better deliver improved rehab services." "There has been no consultation on the health board's proposal to date, and that means the people who use and deliver the services—people with disabilities and their families, advocacy groups, health care providers and their unions—have been left out of the process and their knowledge and issues ignored," says Mary Williams, vice-president of the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities. "We want a consultation process that involves people right from the beginning and that supports a vision of enhanced rehab services." "We are united in our goal to have rehab services strengthened at George Pearson Centre and G.F Strong, and throughout the province," says BCGEU president George Heyman. "Before any decisions are made, we need a government review of rehab services and a full public discussion."