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Campbell government’s Christmas present for west side Vancouver residents a tragedy in making, says HEU

Moves announced today by the Campbell government’s health authority in Vancouver to transfer key acute care services amount to the effective closure of UBC Hospital as an acute care facility, the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) charged today.

HEU spokesperson Zorica Bosancic says the move of critical acute services like emergency room care, urgent surgeries and intensive care to Vancouver General Hospital will add to waitlists, put more of a burden on already overloaded operating rooms, and increase emergency response times and travel times for west-side residents to receive emergency and other critical acute care services.

“What a Christmas present for west side Vancouver residents,” says Bosancic. “No matter how the health authority tries to spin it, the doors may stay open, but UBC will no longer be an acute care hospital if these changes are allowed to go ahead.”

“It amounts to an effective closure that could have tragic consequences for residents of the Premier’s own riding,” she says.

Bosancic was critical of the Campbell government for keeping frontline health care providers in the dark about the changes, and for failing to consult the community in any way shape or form. “This is another appalling broken promise from a government that pledged to be open and accountable,” Bosancic says. She noted that the VCHA made no mention of any changes for UBC at the health authority’s first and only public meeting held earlier this month.

HEU will be pressing health administrators to spell out the impacts of the changes on frontline health care workers in terms of issues like job losses and employment transfers linked to the move of services.

She said her union was prepared to work with communities on the west side of the city to oppose the cuts.

Contact: Stephen Howard, communications director, 604/240-8524