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Protecting quality public health care top priority at health science professionals bargaining table

Two days of discussions about a new contract for health science professionals wound up Wednesday afternoon with some progress on non monetary issues related to protecting quality health care. The union bargaining association (Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association) tabled contract language related to whistle-blower protection for health care professionals who speak up about illegal practices at work which put the care of patients or the safety of employees at risk.
 
Meanwhile, this week, HSA launched a campaign to raise awareness about the continued growth of waiting lists for diagnostic tests. Last month, health authorities in the Lower Mainland served lay-off notice to HSA as a result of plans to consolidate diagnostic imaging services. HSA has held several meetings with diagnostic imaging staff, including x-ray and ultrasound technologists, who report that decreased staffing will contribute to already long waiting lists.

-It is unconscionable that this government would allow diagnostic wait lists to grow and grow, even as they tell British Columbians that their number one priority is patient care. How can you translate the elimination of thousands of diagnostic tests and wait lists of up to 18 months into improved patient care? You cant. Its impossible,- said Reid Johnson, president of the Heath Sciences Association of BC. HSA represents the majority of health science professionals working in hospitals and communities across the province.

-Without a diagnosis, patients illnesses and injuries will get more acute. That translates into more complicated treatments, longer hospital stays, and longer recovery," he said.

To bring attention to the growing crisis in wait lists, HSA this week launched a multi-media advertising and social media campaign.

The campaign consists of a series of radio spots, online video, flash web banners and social media tools directing the public to www.stopthewait.ca 

-The campaign highlights the importance of the work our members do, and the impact that the governments choices on health care spending are having on patients," Johnson said.

Bargaining for a new collective agreement for BCs health science professionals, the trusted members of the modern health care team who deliver the highly specialized diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation services patients depend on for their good health, began in April. The collective agreement expired March 31, 2010.

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