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Demands for Province to Act and Greater Accountability Follow Premiers Conference

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Doctors of BC, the association of 14,000 physicians, residents, and medical students in British Columbia, says the provincial government cannot wait for an increase in federal transfer funds.

The organization says the provincial government must act immediately to address BC’s collapsing health care system.

Doctors of BC says nearly one million people in the province do not have a family doctor, clinics are closing, emergency rooms are often forced to shut down and patients face long waits in those that are open.

It warns that patients waiting for cancer surgery and other medical procedures are facing delays that can mean the difference between life and death.

Doctors of BC says physicians are devastated by not being able to provide the care patients need.

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BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, the MLA for Cowichan Valley, says Premier John Horgan is asking for more federal funding without a plan for how it will be used.

Furstenau says if Ottawa follows through with increased funding, it must stipulate clear outcomes.

She would like to see a requirement that all people in BC must receive access to a family doctor, more transparency in healthcare data, especially related to COVID-19, and free access to personal records.

Furstenau also says a unified pandemic response is needed that includes airborne protocols in public buildings and increased protocols in hospitals.

The BC Green Party leader says the Premier has already received enough advice to have a plan drawn up for dealing with the crisis in health care.

“If the Premier was listening to doctors, nurses, patients, and healthcare experts, he wouldn’t be without a plan. Their calls for change are clear: immediately modernize the fee-for-service system, recruit and support nurses, cover psychologists under MSP, and create community healthcare infrastructure so that healthcare providers can work independent of government as teams.”

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Furstenau says as the provinces lobby the federal government, “it’s time for Premier Horgan to take accountability for the state of healthcare in our province.”

Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, is warning Canada’s premiers that new funding must immediately be used to fix the health worker crisis and improve patient access and care.

“Canada’s unions support the premiers’ call for increased investments from the federal government. But new funding must include accountability and be tied to strengthening public health care and addressing the dangerous shortage of health workers.”

Bruske, who was in Victoria this week to engage the premiers, says “Canada’s health care workers are looking at yet another summer without a break as terrible staffing shortages put an unbearable strain on the people who deliver care.”

The CLC president says frontline health care workers have been warning for years about the damage chronic underfunding has been doing to public health care.

Bruske says only provincial, territorial, and federal governments working together with health care workers can fix this crisis.

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