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Secret budget documents obtained by the Hospital Employees Union outline the Campbell Liberals plans to axe nearly 28,000 health care jobs, increase surgery wait lists and shift another $500 million in health care costs on to the shoulders of BC families.

It amounts to the largest mass sacking of women workers in BC history, says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. These documents expose this governments plans to carry out the most extreme health care privatization scheme in Canadian history at the expense of working women, their families and their communities.

The union is calling for a moratorium on health care privatization, hospital closures and service cuts pending an independent inquiry.

According to the secret documents, about 20,000 health jobs will be cut as part of a scheme to privatize $700 million in services over the next year. Another 7,500 jobs are to be chopped in both clinical and support areas as a result of service cuts over the next three years.

Calling it shocking that the government would spend $163 million in severance costs for an estimated savings of $70 million over three years, Allnutt says, Its clear proof this governments agenda for health care is blindingly ideological and has nothing to do with putting patients first or protecting health care

Workers whose jobs are privatized, according to the document, may be rehired by the private sector at reduced wage rates up to 30 per cent lower. But Allnutt points out this best case scenario means local communities already facing difficult economic times, will take a $150 million hit from wage cuts alone.

Other explosive revelations in the secret briefing notes include:

10,000 fewer surgical procedures will be funded in the next year and wait lists will grow;

patient safety could be compromised as a result of cuts to the BC Ambulance Service; and

seniors and BC families will pay $406 million more over three years for drug costs.

Our members will stand shoulder to shoulder with others in their communities to ensure that Campbells efforts to destroy public Medicare fail, says Allnutt. This extreme agenda for health care is not a foregone conclusion.