Furstenau, Gandhi and Currie statements on dire healthcare situation

May 31, 2023

VANCOUVER B.C. – In response to the unfolding crises in emergency rooms across the province, the B.C. Green Party released the following statements from leader Sonia Furstenau, deputy leader Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, and Langford-Juan de Fuca candidate Camille Currie. Gandhi is a former Clinical Professor of Surgery at UBC School of Medicine and a former Chief of Pediatric Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at British Columbia Children’s Hospital; Currie is the founder and President of B.C. Health Care Matters.

On May 30th, Global News obtained a letter from Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Medical Staff Association, which highlighted the hospital’s “perilous conditions”. In another story on May 25, Global News reported that doctors at Surrey Memorial were citing “substandard conditions” and “unacceptable care delays to admission” leading to adverse health outcomes in patient notes. 

“Health Minister Adrian Dix and health authority bureaucracies have mismanaged our healthcare system for far too long, and the public is paying the price,” Furstenau said. “Thanks to the courageous actions of whistleblowers, we know that there has been one newborn death and ‘countless near misses’ at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Minister Dix cannot say that everything is fine when it is so obviously not. It’s time for the B.C. NDP government and health authorities to acknowledge that this is an outright crisis and to take accountability for their mismanagement and dysfunction. 

“To all the healthcare workers at Surrey Memorial Hospital who are doing their best despite extremely challenging conditions, I want you to know that what you have said matters. Standing up for your patients and public health is not unprofessional, as Fraser Health Authority has suggested - it is the morally right thing to do, and we thank you for it. B.C. Greens have continuously called for whistleblower protection for healthcare workers who currently face serious repercussions for speaking out for the public good.”

“Healthcare workers operate from a principle of ‘first, do no harm,’” Gandhi added. “What we are seeing right now is that our system is doing harm to the very people who seek its help. Healthcare workers are calling it out, but the bureaucracy is doing its level best to muzzle them, standing in the way of good care. It’s egregious and unsafe. 

“Healthcare administration in B.C. requires a massive overhaul. The Ministry of Health is in constant crisis-control mode. Health authorities need to start listening to the doctors and nurses that provide care. Listen to what works, what does not, and allow them to speak their mind, unintimidated. Only by fostering a culture of respect, rather than fear, will better outcomes be achieved.” 

“It is alarming that we continue to hear Minster Dix and the health authorities communicating information to the public and the media that does not reflect the clear reality of front-line workers,” Currie said. “Front-line workers are the ones that see the demand and the suffering. The B.C. NDP government has consistently shown a lack of transparency and accountability around needs and resources within the Ministry of Health. We need leaders in politics and the Ministry of Health who will heed these warnings before they become full-blown crises like we are seeing in Surrey and across the province.”

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