HEU activists study prescription for better health care in Williams Lake

News release

Health care workers brace for impact of physicians’ walk-out

Williams Lake activists from the Hospital Employees’ Union will hold a special meeting tonight to put together a solid action plan to address the crisis facing health care delivery that goes beyond financial incentives for physicians.

“We need long-term solutions for Williams Lake with initiatives that will improve health services for the whole community,” says HEU local chairperson Peggy Christianson.

“For example, Williams Lake is the ideal place for a community health centre that would be open longer hours and offer easy access to a broad range of salaried health care professionals including physicians, physical therapists, nutritionists, licensed practical nurses, community health nurses, social workers, mental health workers and others.”

Other initiatives include: better use of the nursing team with expanded use of LPNs and nurse first responders, increased access to home support services, regional training for LPNs, reduction of work-related injuries and illness and more emphasis on the social determinants of health and health promotion.

HEU representative Kathy Jessome will also brief workers on the impact the Prince George doctors’ walk-out had on hospital staff. Frontline support workers at Prince George Regional Hospital put in long hours fielding inquiries from irate callers, finding beds in other facilities for displaced patients and processing transfers throughout the physicians’ confrontation with the provincial government.

The 45,000-member HEU represents more than 200 health care workers in Williams Lake, the majority of whom work at Cariboo Memorial Hospital and Cariboo Park Lodge.