Health care dealt double blow on federal budget day as BC health committee calls for user fees and higher premiums

Cindy Stewart, President of the Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA), said today's failure by the federal government to come through with financial support for health care, combined with recommendations from the provincial legislative standing committee on health paves the way for dramatic health care service cuts in British Columbia.

"Premier Gordon Campbell will use the federal refusal to increase spending and the recommendations of the standing committee on health to paint a picture to try to justify his government's reckless attack on health care services to British Columbians," Stewart predicted.

"When British Columbians elected a Liberal government, they did it on the understanding that health care would be protected. Seven months into the mandate, British Columbians have less access to services than they did on election day - and they can look forward to even less access in the coming months."

In addition to recommending a restructuring of the health care system, the provincial Select Standing Committee on Health is calling for increased MSP premiums and user fees.

Stewart said the provincial government is also expected to announce dramatic changes to the delivery of critical health services in hospitals that would see diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation services in hospitals substantially reduced.

"We already know that cost-cutting exercises by local hospitals, combined with the delisting of important services like physiotherapy will have a negative effect on the health of British Columbians. For example, in Dawson Creek, the local hospital is planning to cut its three physiotherapists. With the announcement last week that physiotherapy services will not longer by covered by MSP, patients in Dawson Creek will not have access to the rehabilitation services they do today," Stewart said.


LINK: Report of the Select Standing Committee on Health, Legislative Assembly of BC

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