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Health science professionals applaud government plan

Union president says increased training spaces will help address shortage of x-ray technologists but more needs to be done

The Health Science Association of BC, the province's third largest health care union, is pleased that the provincial government's new health care strategy includes a plan to train more x-ray technologists.

HSA president Cindy Stewart says the plan demonstrates that the government has been listening to the concerns of health professionals who provide diagnostic services but she emphasizes that more needs to be done.

"Additional training spaces are an important first, but this is only part of the answer," Stewart says. "The government's health action plan must address the critical shortages in other health professions such as pharmacy, physiotherapy and radiation therapy.

"In addition, the plan must look beyond training to determine how to keep health science professionals working here in BC - that means competitive wages, improved working conditions and opportunities to keep their knowledge and skills up to date."

Stewart says the union also welcomes the announcement of a community and home care initiative.

"Increased resources for home care and community care will take considerable pressure off our hospitals," Stewart notes. "However, we also need to ensure that patients have access to high quality rehabilitation services that will move them from acute care hospitals to facilities where they have access to physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language pathologists."

Stewart says HSA will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that these details are addressed as part of the implementation process.

HSA represents more than 10,000 health science professionals across the province. This includes: lab technologists, x-ray technologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, radiation therapists, respiratory therapists, ultrasonographers, pre-school teachers, community mental health professionals, social workers, dietitians, health records administrators and speech and language pathologists.

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For more information, contact:
Rebecca Maurer, Director of Communications
(604)439-0994 or 970-8196 cell.

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