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Throne speech fails to address critical shortages in health care

Critical shortages of health science professionals will continue to grow, thanks to the lack of planning exhibited by the BC Liberal government in the Speech from the Throne, HSA President Reid Johnson said today.

-I had hoped todays plan from government would include some concrete steps toward real solutions to the growing crisis of shortages of highly skilled and specialized health science professionals in the public health care system," Johnson said.

-Instead of dealing with shortages with a comprehensive plan for training skilled professionals in the diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation professions, more responsibilities are being heaped onto already overworked nurses," Johnson said.

-Thats not a recipe for a stronger and more responsive health care system," he said.

Johnson said the governments lack of planning will hurt British Columbians in the long-term.

-British Columbians needed a commitment today that would make a difference to the diagnostic wait lists ... that includes an immediate plan to train the health science professionals we need today and into the future," 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 who work in the diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation professions and are a critical part of the health care team.

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