SURREY – News that the government is closing residential care beds in Surrey is the latest in a string of B.C. Liberal broken promises to protect health care, New Democrat deputy health critic Sue Hammell said today.
On Thursday, the government announced a number of cuts to the Fraser Health Authority, including the closure of 11 residential care beds at Bear Creek Lodge and 11 residential care beds at Newton Regency. Since the election, the FHA has seen a $160 million shortfall in funding, and cuts have been made to seniors’ day programs, outpatient clinics, and counseling and treatment programs for victims of abuse and addiction.
“Surrey needs more residential care beds to alleviate the pressure on acute care, but instead the B.C. Liberal government is breaking their promise to protect healthcare and closing these critical care beds,” said Hammell.
Numerous experts and health care professionals, including the B.C. Medical Association, have called on the B.C. Liberals to follow through on their broken 2001 election promise to build 5,000 new long term care spaces.
“MLAs like Dave Hayer and Stephanie Cadieux promised Surrey voters during the campaign that they would protect health care. Why will they not stand up for Surrey families and fight these latest B.C. Liberal cuts to health care?” asked Hammell.
Hammell noted that creating these spaces would help ease congestion in Emergency Rooms and in the acute care system.
“The B.C. Liberals have continually failed the people of British Columbia. At a time where vital health care services are stretched, they have further slashed funding to residential care beds in the Fraser Valley,” noted Hammell.
Last April, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, using figures from the health authority, reported that between 2001 and 2008 the Fraser Valley lost long term care beds, and access to residential care decreased.
Carole James and the New Democrats have been holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for breaking their word on the HST, and for backtracking on their election promises to protect health care, education, and other vital services.