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Provincial budget fails BC patients

The 2008 provincial budget fails to address the needs of BC patients, Reid Johnson, President of the Health Sciences Association of B.C. charged.

-The budget demonstrates the government has no plan to address the key challenge in BCs health care system ... human resources planning," Johnson said.

-Furthermore, the most significant spending commitment made by the government today is to move toward a funding model that pits hospitals and health authorities against each other in competition for patient funding."

Neither of these features of the budget bodes well for the future of health care in BC, he said.

-A commitment to health care should include a plan to train, recruit and keep health care professionals in the province, as well as a plan to encourage a collaborative ... not confrontational ... approach to coordinated services for patients where and when they need them. This budget does exactly the opposite," he said.

-So-called patient focused funding focuses on funding ... and not on patients," Johnson said.

-What we needed to see in this budget was a concrete commitment toward real solutions to the growing crisis of shortages of highly skilled and specialized health science professionals and other members of the health care team," he said.

Several recent reports have shown that shortages of specialized diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation health science professionals will continue to grow in British Columbia.

For example, a Fraser Health Authority report estimates that B.C. will need an additional 1154 staff in diagnostic imaging by 2015. BCIT is expected to train only 600 by then, meaning there will be a shortfall of 500 medical imaging professionals in just seven years.

The Health Sciences Association of BC is the union that represents 15,000 health science professionals delivering diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation services in BCs health care system.

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