April 15, 2005 13:31 ET

Liberals have detailed plans to break long-term care promise: James

Attention: Assignment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER/BC--(CCNMatthews - April 15, 2005) - Documents produced by Premier Gordon Campbell's five regional health authorities show that the Liberals have comprehensive plans to break-for the second time-the Premier's long-term care bed promise to BC's seniors, NDP Leader Carole James said today.

"The numbers are there, laid out in the most recently available health authority planning documents," said James. "By 2007, under Gordon Campbell's health care plan the province will see a net reduction of 565 long-term care beds.

"This is a far cry from the 5000 new beds originally promised by 2006, and completely fails to meet the Premier's new election promise of having 5000 beds ready for seniors by 2008.. This is why people in BC simply don't trust the Premier to deliver on these promises,"

Health authorities produce rolling service plans that outline service levels, including the creation and/or reduction of long-term care beds.

James said that a number of the health authorities are planning for significant, continual reductions to long-term care beds, not the increase as promised by Campbell.

For example, the Vancouver Coastal Health Service Redesign Plan produced in 2004 states: "The current plan for redesigning Residential/Complex Care is as follows:
• 2004/05: VCH will reduce by a NET of 326 beds
• 2005/06: VCH will reduce by a NET of 200 beds
• 2006/07: VCH will reduce by a NET of 97 beds."

"The current crisis in health care is being completely ignored by Gordon Campbell Indeed, the Premier's most concrete action to date has been to impose a gag order on the doctors and staff who have pinpointed the crisis in our hospitals caused by the Liberals' failure to deliver long term care beds," said James.

"Our province needs a dramatic and immediate increase in the number of long-term care beds that provide complex care around the clock. This is the only way we can relieve the stress on our hospital's acute care wards and emergency room backlogs," said James.

To date the BC Liberals have not made a single announcement to build long-term care beds. Instead they are building assisted-living units, offering rent supplements and home support.

"Assisted living units and home supports are an important part in the continuum of care required by seniors," said James. "But assisted living units do nothing to help seniors waiting in hospital beds because they require long-term complex care."

"I have committed to opening 1000 long-term care beds within the first year," said James. "This immediate step will alleviate the stress on our emergency care and provide seniors with the kind of care they need and deserve."

The NDP is committed to opening an additional 5000 long-term care beds by 2009.

For the NDP backgrounder on Campbell's broken long-term care promise, copy and paste this link into your web browser:

/For further information: www.bcndp.ca/ IN: POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Marcella Munro, Communications Officer, BC New Democrats
    Primary Phone: 604-675-2088
    Secondary Phone: 604-313-0717
    E-mail: marcellam@bcndp.ca