Campbell Liberals welch on New Era commitment to frail elderly

News release

Promise of 5,000 non-profit long-term care beds a distant memory The Campbell Liberals have reneged on their "New Era" commitment to provide 5,000 non-profit intermediate and long-term beds, says the Hospital Employees' Union (CUPE).

Instead, Tuesday's budget slashes funding for health care capital projects by more than half over the next two years and says the private sector will play a greater role in financing and operating long-term care. That's in direct contradiction to the Campbell Liberals’ pre-election commitment to preserve or increase the role of non-profit providers in long-term care.

The budget documents contain plans for a massive shift of frail elderly and disabled people with high care needs into their own homes — a 12 per cent increase over the next three years.

"It's another broken promise by the Campbell Liberals that will put seniors and the disabled at risk, and put more pressure on emergency rooms and hospital beds," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "The Campbell solution to meeting the care needs of seniors — privatizing long-term care, shifting costs to individuals and moving the frail elderly into the home without the necessary supports — is no solution at all.

"Just last week, one health authority cancelled homemaking services to the elderly and disabled. It's clear that only those with the most acute care needs will receive care at home — and that care won't include cleaning and other homemaking services that are critical to keeping seniors healthy and independent."

Allnutt says the budget's goal of shifting $70 million worth of health services "not mandated under the Canada Health Act" to individuals and their insurance companies will hit seniors and the disabled hard and create two tiers of access to home support services.

When asked before the election by HEU's newspaper to respond to some groups that are pushing to privatize seniors' care, the premier said: "I just don't agree that we need to privatize it at all." Campbell also said that the private sector role in providing long-term care would stay the same or decrease.

-30- For more information: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771(cell)