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HEU says that the $700,000 severance package given to Pat Zanon, former CEO of the now-defunct South Fraser Valley Health Region, could have been better spent on improving public health care, especially at a time when hospitals are being threatened with patient service reductions and closures.

“This foreshadows the future of health care in B.C.- the rich will be taken care of while most British Columbians will be left wanting,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “In Delta, the community is fighting a planned cutback in hours of operation for its emergency room. In White Rock at Peace Arch Hospital, there’s an outcry against the proposed reductions in maternity services.

“Ms Zanon was a good administrator but simply put, there are better ways to spend $700,000,” Allnutt says.

Three weeks ago, the Campbell government rammed through legislation that capped at 60 days, layoff notices to health care workers who provide direct patient care and support services in B.C.’s hospitals.

“The new Fraser Health Authority could invest in 15 more Licensed Practical Nurses for the same amount of money it just paid out to an administrator,” Allnutt says.

Knowledge of Zanon’s payout, made public by an article in today’s Surrey Leader, is only the beginning of a bigger story. HEU is seeking copies of severance agreements for other health administrators.

“When the Campbell Liberals deconstructed health regions and fired health boards, they ushered in an era where decisions affecting all aspects of health care will be made behind closed doors by government-appointed health czars.

The absence of community access, input and accountability will lead to more foolish mistakes like this $700,000 severance deal,” says Allnutt.

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For further information please contact:
Chris Allnutt, secretary-business manager,
604-880-4572 (cell)
Margi Blamey, communications officer,
604-785-5324 (cell)