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The Gordon Campbell Liberal government has failed to reverse public scepticism about its seniors’ care reforms, according to a new poll commissioned by the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Seventy-seven per cent of those with an opinion doubt that the government has a workable plan for seniors’ care – up from 73 per cent in June. Only 23 per cent agreed the government has a workable plan.

Conducted on the eve of a massive government ad campaign, the province-wide telephone survey of 505 British Columbians provides no summer relief for the Campbell Liberals’ beleaguered health reforms.

“Provincial politicians may be hard to find in the dead of summer, but there’s no escaping the chaos this government has unleashed on seniors and others who depend on quality public health care,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt.

“Rather than launching an end-of-summer ad blitz to sell its plans to move the frail elderly into the community,” adds Allnutt, “the Campbell Liberals should rethink their plans to close long-term care facilities and move to consult with seniors, their families and front-line health care workers about ways to improve care.”

The poll also tracks a rapidly growing public perception that the BC government’s health privatization plans are bad news for patients. Of those polled, 72 per cent say that paying workers as low as the minimum wage – which is a practice of some corporations bidding on privatized health support services – will negatively impact patient care. That’s an increase of 14 per cent from when the same question was polled in June.

“Right now, skilled and experienced health care workers are losing their jobs to low-wage private contractors,” says Allnutt. “And that makes no sense for BC patients no matter what the government spin.”