Calls for Health Minister Resignation
information contained in a secret government report and new figures
that the B.C. Liberals' seniors' care strategy is in serious trouble, a
coalition of public health care advocates today called for the
the minister responsible for seniors.
The B.C. Health
Coalition says that as a result of government policy, more than 3,300
care beds have closed or are in the process of closing despite the fact
the population of seniors, 75 years and older, in B.C. is forecast to
by 68 per cent over the next 20 years.
That will leave British
with the lowest number of beds for
people aged 75 years and older of any province in Canada.
scenarios contained in a confidential health ministry discussion
contemplate cutting long-term care by as much as 5,600 beds by 2007 and
replacing these services with assisted living units and, for the first
with already over-burdened home support services.
That's a problem,
says BC Health Coalition coordinator Terrie Hendrickson, because B.C.'s
authorities have only announced plans to provide about 3,300 assisted
units - less than half of what is needed under the most conservative
contained in the report.
their own assumptions, the government's seniors' care strategy is in
shambles," says Hendrickson. "It's time for government to admit that
it has no workable plan for seniors' care and engage in a real
communities across B.C. on how to provide quality health care for our
Coalition of People with Disabilities' Tom McGregor says he's alarmed
suggestion in the government report that long-term care be replaced
there's not enough home support hours to give current recipients the
they need to live independently in dignity and in fact, many have been
off," says McGregor.
scenarios that shift between 1,400 and 5,300 more clients onto home
unrealistic. Using home support to care for a client base with
complex care needs is reckless and will result in more pressure on our
The Seniors Network BC
co-chair Joyce Jones says the government must be held to account for
of planning, and for the anxiety they've caused the frail elderly, the
and their families.
comes to residential care for seniors and the disabled, this government
lost its way and we're paying the price in communities across the
province," says Jones.
for a new advocate on this issue in the provincial cabinet. It's time
minister responsible to step aside."
In their 'New
Era' election document, the B.C. Liberals committed to building 5,000
long-term care beds by 2006.