Eliminating services at St. Mary’s Hospital means longer waits for surgery

News release

Monday's announcement by health services minister Colin Hansen that he’ll stop funding New Westminster’s St. Mary’s Hospital means B.C. patients will wait even longer for surgery.

According to the health services ministry’s web site, 2,412 patients were waiting for surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital at the end of September. Of that number, 1520 patients were awaiting eye surgery and 306 were waiting for orthopedic surgery.

More than nine per cent of those waiting for cataract surgery province-wide are on the waiting list at St. Mary’s.

“The 2,400 patients waiting for surgery at St. Mary’s are just the latest victims of the B.C. Liberals’ so-called `New Era’ for health care,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“But the end result of the minister’s decision to pull the plug on St. Mary’s will be longer surgery waits for patients across B.C. and especially at those nearby hospitals that will be expected to take on the surgical case load.”

Allnutt says it’s ironic that on the same day the health services minister announced the defacto closure of St. Mary’s, the federal government announced $2 billion in new health funding to the provinces.

“It makes one wonder whether closing this hospital has more to do with balancing the provincial budget than in making sure British Columbians get health care where and when they need it.”

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications director, 604-828-6771 (cell)