VICTORIA, BC, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The B.C Liberals will balance their
pre-election budget by making significant cuts to planned spending on
front-line health care services and increasing MSP premiums, says the
Hospital Employees' Union.
That means health authorities will fail to meet targets for direct care
hours in seniors in care facilities, despite recommendations by B.C.'s
ombudsperson that government take action to address inadequate staffing
Planned health spending announced last year for the fiscal year
2013-2014 has been reduced by $234 million in today's budget.
The budget documents forecast that health authorities and societies will
spend $90 million less on front-line health care services than forecast
in last year's plan.
At the same time, a four per cent increase to MSP premiums next January
means B.C. families are on the hook for more than $2.39 billion by
2015-2016. MSP revenues will then outstrip corporate taxes despite the
modest increase announced today.
"This budget represents another huge hit to B.C. families and will make
it even more difficult for our members to deliver quality services to
the public," says HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson.
B.C. lags behind the rest of the country in terms of its per capita
investment in the health care needs of its citizens. Since taking
office in 2001, the B.C. Liberals have taken B.C. from second to ninth
place compared to other provinces.
"Despite the finance minister's claims, it doesn't necessarily follow
that cuts to planned spending results in a more efficient health care
system," says Pearson.
"But these cuts do make it more difficult for health authorities and
front-line staff to deliver quality health care to the public."
"British Columbians have benefited from past investments in the health
of our citizens," says Pearson.
"Unfortunately, this budget fundamentally fails to address the critical
investments we need to make today to improve health outcomes and
control costs in the future."
SOURCE: Hospital Employees' Union
For further information:
Contact: Mike Old, HEU communications director, 604-828-6771 (mobile)