Public still not buying Campbell Liberals’ plans for seniors’ care — poll

News release

On eve of government ad campaign, public increasingly critical of health reforms

The Gordon Campbell Liberal government has failed to reverse public skepticism about its seniors’ care reforms, according to a new McIntyre and Mustel poll commissioned by the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Seventy-seven per cent of those with an opinion doubt that the government has a workable plan for seniors’ care — up from 73 per cent in June. Only 23 per cent agreed that government has a workable plan (down from 27 per cent in June). Conducted August 6 — 13 on the eve of a massive government ad campaign — the province-wide telephone survey of 505 British Columbians provides no summer relief for the Campbell Liberals’ beleaguered health reforms.

“Provincial politicians may be hard to find in the dead of summer, but there’s no escaping the chaos this government has unleashed on seniors and others who depend on quality public health care,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Rather than launching an end-of-summer ad blitz to sell its plans to move the frail elderly into the community,” adds Allnutt, “the Campbell Liberals should rethink their plans to close long-term care facilities and move to consult with seniors, their families and front-line health care workers about ways to improve care.”

The poll also tracks a rapidly growing public perception that the Campbell Liberals’ health privatization plans are bad news for patients. Of those polled, 72 per cent say that paying workers as low as the minimum wage — which is a practice of some corporations bidding on privatized health support services — will negatively impact patient care. That’s an increase of 14 per cent from when the same question was polled in June.

“Right now, skilled and experienced health care workers are losing their jobs to low-wage private contractors,” says Allnutt. “And that makes no sense for B.C. patients no matter what the government spin.”

The questions were posed as part of a McIntyre and Mustel omnibus poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The questions: Thinking about health care services for seniors, do you agree or disagree that the B.C. Liberal government has a workable plan to provide better health care services for B.C. seniors?

N="505" Decided (%) Overall (%) Disagree 76.9 59.4 Agree 23.1 17.8 Don’t Know — 22.7

If hospital support services were privatized, pay rates for hospital support workers will be as low as minimum wage. Do you think this will have a positive impact, a negative impact or no impact on patient care?

N="505" % Positive impact 7.2 Strong positive impact 3.9 Somewhat positive impact 3.3 Negative impact 71.7 Strongly negative impact 51.4 Somewhat negative impact 20.4 No real impact of patient care 16.1 Don’t know 5.0

-30- For more detailed tables or more information, contact Mike Old, communications officer, at 604-828-6771 (cell).

Click here for poll released June 18

Click here for poll released July 16