Health care buried in throne speech

News release

Today’s throne speech is a frank admission by the B.C. Liberal government that nearly three years into their mandate they have failed to deliver on health care, says the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Even though it’s the largest program area of government and a top-of-mind issue for British Columbians, health care was effectively a footnote in today’s review of the government’s legislative agenda.

“With the clock running out on their mandate, health care is proving to be a huge liability for this government,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Growing surgery waits, service cuts and hospital closures are defining the B.C. Liberals `new era’ for health care. And the government’s commitment to provide 5,000 new intermediate and long-term care beds has been replaced with a vague promise of new strategies to increase the supply of seniors’ housing.

“Thousands of skilled, experienced health care workers have been dumped on the street and their work privatized by a government that’s turning health care into a cash cow for its corporate friends.”

Allnutt says that the B.C. Liberals’ record of confrontation with health care workers — and especially its shredding of legally negotiated contracts — has created a climate of distrust and uncertainty on health care’s front-lines.

“Today’s throne speech was an opportunity to begin rebuilding trust with health care workers,” says Allnutt. “Instead, government continues to scapegoat workers for health care’s problems.”

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