HEU applauds health minister's move to ease pressures on health care system, strengthen long-term care
$6.5 million a good start to facing the challenge of developing bold long-range solutions and modernizing Medicare British Columbia's biggest health care union is welcoming Health Minister Penny Priddy's announcement of $6.5 million dollars in new, immediate funding — which translates into $26 million annually — to deal with the health care crisis that manifested this week in overcrowded hospital emergency rooms across the province. "It's a positive first step," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "Like the minister, we recognize that this is a short-term response that sets the stage for longer range solutions to provide more long-term care beds and staff, home support care, and other resources for people whose needs would best be served in the community and not in an acute care facility." "We are committed to continuing to work with government, seniors' and disability advocates and organizations, the not-for-profit sector and others to develop a bold plan that will improve seniorsí care services and modernize Medicare." The 45,000 member Hospital Employees' Union represents health care workersóincluding care aides and licensed practical nurses — who provide the majority of care to seniors in B.C.