Province penny wise, pound foolish with senior's health funding
The upheaval at the Health Point Care Clinic in Victoria is symptomatic of government policies and procedures that are costing the province money and, more importantly, creating uncertainty about the kind of medical and support services seniors receive, Green Party Leader Jane Sterk says.
Cutbacks to home care and community care for seniors are a false economy: they aren't saving BC taxpayers money; they are costing us, Sterk said. Decisions, which lead to greater hardship at higher cost, are the result of poor planning based on the wrong priorities.
"In the last ten years we have cut back on things like home-care, which we know keeps people healthier and in their own homes longer," Sterk said. "At the same time we've had more seniors go into hospital, and when the treatment is finished, there's no place for them to go, so they stay in hospital because we've cut back on home care; we've cut back on community care."
Sterk, who is running in the Victoria - Beacon Hill riding in the May 14 provincial election, and Oak Bay - Gordon Head Green Party candidate Andrew Weaver attended a protest mounted by clients of the Health Point Care Clinic. The clinic notified its 1,800 clients in February that by the end of May it would lose four part-time doctors who resigned Feb. 22 and whose requests to meet with the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and for a commitment to sustainable funding have gone unanswered.
"VIHA says it will replace the doctors" said Weaver, "but this isn't about a lack of doctors, it's about an unaccountable health authority. These dedicated doctors are willing to serve their clients but the current conditions are untenable."
The Health Point doctors have said they are open to negotiations, and Sterk said it makes sense for VIHA to talk. "This is exactly the kind of community-based health care we need for seniors. It not only makes their lives better, it saves dollars in the long run."
See Healthy Seniors policy of the Green Party of BC
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