Avery speaks out on budget's failure to address wait lists driven by shortages

"Buildings and equipment don't treat patients. Health professional treat patients."

HSA President Val Avery went live on CFAX last week to talk about how the provincial budget failed to do anything for people waiting on long wait lists for health care.

Vancouver Island Health Authority recently disclosed that 18,000 patients were waiting for ultrasound testing because of a shortage of sonographers.

"The shortages are primarily due to the issue that the public sector has not had competitive wages," said Avery. "When you have a more competitive wage being paid out in the private sector and when we are one of the lowest paid provinces, we have difficulty retaining new grads or retaining folks who have been working with us. There is nothing to address that in this budget."

Avery also explained employers have joined forces with HSA to urge the government to raise wages, but the government has rejected the proposal.

"That was a joint recommendation that came from employers and our union, and the government has turned that down. So there is a lot of concern that we have patients on wait lists who will need treatment, and diagnosis delay through a lack of sonographers is denying those patients treatment."