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The head of a British Columbia health authority admitted in a confidential memo this week that his hospital emergency wards have a a virtual flood of patients.

And while reasonable observers might attribute the overcrowding to the Fraser Health Authoritys decision to close beds and reduce staff, Bob Smith, the head of the authority and the memos author, blamed the situation on the areas aging population.

It’s clear “the Campbell government’s health cuts are hurting health care,” Hospital Employees Union spokesperson Zorica Bosancic said.

The virtual flood prompted the health authority to re-open 170 acute care beds it had recently closed.

In the memo, which was leaked to a Vancouver media outlet, Smith admitted that waiting times in emergency wards were much higher than acceptable, but that the situation would be in hand by 2007.