Public Unimpressed with BC
Liberals' Health Care Schemes, says Poll
The corporate media and business elite may
praise it, but the general public isn’t happy with the results of the
Liberals regimes and its health care management.
Almost 47 per cent give government "poor"
health rating, with an additional 25 per cent saying it is at best
fair. A significant majority, 58 per cent, oppose so-called “public
private partnerships”—or “P3s”—where a private for-profit firm operates
a health facility or service and the public pays for it via its tax
dollars, while a full 60 per cent doubt health service quality can be
maintained by private contractors
Those were the findings of a Mustel Group
poll commissioned by the Hospital Employees' Union earlier this month.
That's up sharply from 40 per cent in
January and represents the second poorest ranking of a BC government
since HEU began polling on this question in 1993. The August 6-11
telephone survey of 501 British Columbians indicates that just seven per
cent rated the government's health care performance as excellent or
very good. A further 17 per cent rate their performance as good and 26
per cent as fair.
"Facility closures, service cuts and
privatization combined with MSP and Pharmacare hikes are eroding public
confidence in this government's health care reforms," says HEU
secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "British Columbians have
quickly discovered that the New Era commitment to health care 'where
and when you need it' is an empty commitment."
The survey also shows a public deeply
suspicious of government's plans to privatize health care
infrastructure and support services.
In the aftermath of government's failed
plan to use public-private partnerships to operate the Coquihalla
Highway, the HEU/Mustel Group survey shows that 58 per cent (including
32 per cent of BC Liberal supporters) oppose government plans to use
similar P3 arrangements to build, own and operate hospitals, highways
And on the question of contracting out
health care services, 60 per cent of British Columbians are not
persuaded by health authorities' claims that they can replace existing
staff with private contractors and still maintain high quality health
"The public understands that we can't
build a quality health care system by throwing thousands of skilled,
experienced workers out on the street," says Allnutt.
About 9,000 health care workers are
expected to lose their jobs by the end of 2004 due to privatization and
HEU's survey questions form part of a
larger Mustel Group omnibus poll that included political preference
numbers released by the polling company earlier this week. The results
are considered accurate to within 4.4 per cent, 19 out of 20 times.
Here are the questions:
How would you rate the performance of the
current BC Liberal government's handling of health care issues?
- 1.6 per cent
good - 5.2 per cent
- 17.4 per cent
- 25.5 per cent
- 46.7 per cent
know - 3.6 per cent
The BC Liberal government has proposed
using private-public partnerships in which private companies would
build, own and operate public infrastructure like hospitals, highways
and schools. Based on what you know about private-public partnerships,
do you support or oppose this approach?
agree - 9.0 per cent
agree - 23.2 per cent
disagree - 17.9 per cent
disagree - 40.0 per cent
know - 9.9 per cent
agree - 32.2 per cent
disagree - 57.9 per cent
BC's health authorities say they can
replace thousands of existing staff with private contractors and
maintain high quality services. Do you agree or disagree with that
agree - 15.6 per cent
agree - 16.6 per cent
disagree - 18.9 per cent
disagree - 41.1 per cent
know - 7.8 per cent
agree - 32.2 per cent
disagree - 60.0 per cent