Provincial budget fails BC patients

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - The 2008 provincial budget fails to address
the needs of BC patients, Reid Johnson, President of the Health Sciences
Association of B.C. charged.
    "The budget demonstrates the government has no plan to address the key
challenge in BC's health care system - human resources planning," Johnson
    "Furthermore, the most significant spending commitment made by the
government today is to move toward a funding model that pits hospitals and
health authorities against each other in competition for patient funding."
    Neither of these features of the budget bodes well for the future of
health care in BC, he said.
    "A commitment to health care should include a plan to train, recruit and
keep health care professionals in the province, as well as a plan to encourage
a collaborative - not confrontational - approach to coordinated services for
patients where and when they need them. This budget does exactly the
opposite," he said.
    "So-called patient focused funding focuses on funding - and not on
patients," Johnson said.
    "What we needed to see in this budget was a concrete commitment toward
real solutions to the growing crisis of shortages of highly skilled and
specialized health science professionals and other members of the health care
team," he said.
    Several recent reports have shown that shortages of specialized
diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation health science professionals will
continue to grow in British Columbia.
    For example, a Fraser Health Authority report estimates that B.C. will
need an additional 1154 staff in diagnostic imaging by 2015. BCIT is expected
to train only 600 by then, meaning there will be a shortfall of 500 medical
imaging professionals in just seven years.

    The Health Sciences Association of BC is the union that represents 15,000
health science professionals delivering diagnostic, clinical and
rehabilitation services in BC's health care system.

For further information:

For further information: Miriam Sobrino, Director of Communications,
(604) 439-0994 or (604) 328-2886 Cell

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