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Volume Ten, Number Two   March 2005

Campbell Liberals promise to fix health care can’t erase record of mismanagement


The Hospital Employees’ Union says the Campbell Liberals promise of a major salvage operation on a health care system is short on details. The health care system is still  reeling from their three and a half year campaign of cuts, closures and privatization.

“British Columbians want action on seniors’ care, overcrowded emergency rooms and falling standards of care, “ says HEU financial secretary Mary LaPlante. “But they won’t find a plan in this budget. There’s no firm strategy, for example, to deal with the broken promise to deliver 5,000 new long-term care beds.
“Bottom line: they say they’ll spend new federal health dollars to fix the mess they’ve made but they won’t tell us how.”

More than 95 per cent of the new health care funding announced in today’s budget for the next two years comes from the recent federal health accord. LaPlante also says that despite today’s announcement of an increase in the threshold for MSP premium assistance, working families are still paying $360 million in extra MSP premiums imposed by this government in 2002.

And to support their drive to privatize health services, the government will exempt privately owned consortiums from property tax on health care-related projects.

In the last three and a half years, the Campbell Liberals have slashed thousands of long-term care beds while failing to deliver on their promise to build new ones, shut down or downgraded hospitals in communities from Delta to Kimberly to New Westminster, tore up health care contracts, fired 8,000 skilled, experienced health care workers – mostly women – and cut wages for the newly privatized workers to the lowest rates in the country; and slashed wages for LPNs, cardiology techs, lab assistants, computer specialists, trades workers and others by 15 per cent generating a looming retention and recruitment crisis and contributing to plummeting staff morale.

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