“When action was needed to address serious issues like hospital overcrowding, emergency room wait times and inadequate staffing levels in Fraser Health, the ministry failed to take action, and responded by promising this review instead,” said New Democrat health critic Judy Darcy.
“But the changes outlined in this review fall short of what people in this region deserve. There is no commitment to sustained funding to bring the region in line with the rest of the province, and no commitment to more staff in hospitals.”
Fraser Health has the lowest per-capita funding in B.C., despite being the fastest growing region. The review allows for an investment in community care in the region, but doesn’t address the diverse, urgent needs across the system, said Darcy.
“To truly take the pressure off the acute care system, the B.C. Liberals need to make strategic investments in a range of areas that have been neglected for years, specifically integrated teams in community health centres, home support, residential care beds and mental health and addictions,” said Darcy.
While investment in community care is a good thing, she added, just next door in Vancouver, the B.C. Liberals are dismantling primary care in community health centres across the city, which provide precisely the kind of primary care that is needed in the Fraser Health region.
“The last thing that people in this region need is more disjointed approaches to health care, and more rhetoric without action,” said Darcy.
“Unfortunately, this review is short on real-world solutions. For instance, while changes like cutting down overtime sound appealing, the bigger picture is that this need for overtime is caused by chronic understaffing, which is not being addressed.”
Darcy said she is pleased to see the report finally released, but disappointed that people in this region are not getting the help they deserve, even when this review confirms that outcomes in Fraser Health are not good enough.
“While the B.C. Liberal government continue to put off making real changes across this system, people in this region are coping with inexcusable wait times. They need solutions, not more promises.”