Restructuring announcement a smokescreen for service cuts - HSA president Cindy Stewart says

Today's announcement of a massive restructuring of the system of health care governance in BC is a smokescreen for the Liberal government's real agenda for health care, Health Sciences Association of BC President Cindy Stewart said.

"The health care system has been through structuring and restructuring for a decade. The centrepiece of our health care system cannot be process. It has to be patients," Stewart said.

"What we didn't hear at today's staged cabinet announcement was what is really happening in the health care regions since the Liberal government got elected," she said.

"Minister Hawkins says restructuring will amount to savings of $2.4 million in board costs and auditor's fees. That's a drop in the bucket from a government that has ordered massive cuts in health care. In the former Simon Fraser region, for example, management is looking for cuts of $50 million - that's half of Burnaby Hospital."

And in Vancouver, social workers at St. Paul's Hospital are being laid off to meet budget demands.

"The government has demonstrated that it is not prepared to go after the real structural barriers. They need a meaningful strategy to recruit and retain professionals to the system. Instead, they seem to be suggesting that what the health care system needs is fewer specialized services for sick British Columbians," she said.


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