Health care workers to advocate key changes for better health services during MLA lobby this week

November 8, 2005

The Legislature in Victoria may be adjourned for the week, but B.C. health care workers will be meeting with both Liberal and NDP MLAs in constituency offices across the province this week to make the case for changes that would improve health care services for British Columbians.

The workers - who are members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union - will press for a number of measures that will improve the delivery of health services, says BCGEU president George Heyman.

"Better home support services are at the top of our lobby list because these have been hit hard by cutbacks over the last four years," Heyman says. "We'll be making the case that home support is an essential part of an efficient and cost effective continuum of care that's in place to meet the needs of British Columbians."

Bobbi Pettett, who is chairperson of BCGEU's health services component and a member of the union's provincial executive, says home support services have been reduced for many elderly British Columbians. "Unfortunately, the cuts and new limitations on who receives care means that more - not fewer - pressures are placed on acute care services in hospitals."

BCGEU activists visiting MLAs will be offering some concrete solutions to improve health service delivery, says Brenda Brown, who also represents health care workers on BCGEU's executive.

"We'll be seeking support to change how home support is funded, and to restore the many proactive home support programs that kept clients healthy by addressing their physical, medical and psychological needs," Brown says

Pettett says they will also be asking politicians to speed up construction of the 5,000 new long-term care beds that were promised in 2001.

Across the province, BCGEU represents some 13,000 front line health care workers who provide community health programs like home support, care for seniors in long-term care facilities, and work as paramedical professionals.


Contact Stephen Howard, BCGEU communications officer 604-992-0105