Throne Speech highlights health care

Dosanjh signals modernization and strengthening of health care as key government priority

B.C.'s new premier flagged the strengthening and modernizing of health care as a key priority in March 15's throne speech - a blueprint of the the NDP government's plans for the upcoming session of the legislature.

"In the coming weeks, my government will set out an agenda to begin to relieve the pressure on our hospitals - the heart of our health care system," read Lieutenant Governor Garde Gardom. That agenda includes improved access to long-term care and home support along with innovations that would ensure that British Columbians receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

HEU has been pressing government to take a new approach to providing seniors' care that includes a 'blended approach' integrating facility and community delivery of health care services.

"This is a positve sign that our work is having an impact on government plans to improve elder care," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "We'll be continuing to work with the new health minister to make sure that our seniors receive the care they demand and deserve in settings that make the most sense."

The throne speech also stated the government's opposition to experiments in health care taking place in other parts of the country that would lead to American-style, for-profit health care and called on the federal government to get back in the game of funding medicare.

Also on the government's agenda was a continuation of the university and college tuition freeze and plans to expand publicly funded child care programs. Both of these intitiatives will be of help to HEU members and their families, says Allnutt.

But Allnutt notes that the throne speech contained no plans to amend the Labour Code to include stronger successorship protections and improved access to first contracts for newly organized workers.

"These amendments to the Labour Code are long overdue," says Allnutt. "And we'll let the new cabinet know about our concerns at the earliest opportunity."