Society’s most vulnerable denied needed care

Groundbreaking new study exposes the impact of federal and B.C. cuts to community-based health care

The B.C. Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Hospital Employees’ Union, the B.C. Nurses’ Union and the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union co-published a major new study today. Without Foundation: How Medicare is Undermined by Gaps and Privatization in Community and Continuing Care, finds that access to community and continuing care in B.C. has been seriously eroded over the past decade.

Community and Continuing Care (CCC) includes long-term care, home nursing, and home support. CCC is the foundation of a comprehensive health care system, yet much of the sector falls outside Medicare and national standards are nowhere to be seen. In the recent health accord with the provinces, the federal government abandoned its promise of a national home care program. Without Foundation clearly shows that a national public and non-profit home care program is desperately needed.

“The federal Liberals and health minister Allan Rock have said that a national home care program is a priority but clearly that’s not the case,” says HEU president Fred Muzin. “Home care is being ignored in the federal election campaign by everyone except the NDP.

“HEU activists need to make home care an issue at every all-candidates meeting and ask the politicians to commit to a national home care program as part of our public health care system.”

The study calls on the federal government to immediately pursue cost-sharing arrangements with the provinces to bring all CCC programs and services under the public health care system. The government of B.C. should also reinvest in public and non-profit CCC services and infrastructure. Finally, the report calls for more research into the implications of increased privatization of community and continuing care.

Copies of Without Foundation will be sent to locals in the near future. The report can also be downloaded from the CCPA-B.C. web site, www.policyalternatives.ca.