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White Rock Surrey CARP chapter questions impact of health care announcements

‘Actions speak louder than words’
Seniors group CARP questions how effective recent health care announcements made by the province’s health minister, Adrian Dix, will be. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck photo)

The White Rock Surrey chapter of CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Persons) is skeptical about how quickly recent health care funding announcements made by provincial health minister Adrian Dix will actually help B.C. residents who need health care.

In a release, CARP applauded the province’s announcement that it will invest an additional $14 million in the EquipCare BC program for health, safety and quality improvements in publicly funded seniors’ long-term care (LTC) homes and assisted-living residences.

“Frail older adults certainly need this benefit,” the release said.

The release noted CARP hopes the $14 million is “just part” of the $1.4 billion over 10 years to improve long-term care “promised by the NDP in its re-election campaign in 2020.”

South Surrey resident Ramona Kaptyn, who is also CARP’s B.C. chief advocacy and communications officer, sent the release.

READ ALSO: Health minister says Surrey will need better long-term care services as population ages

“In the past few weeks, Health Minister Adrian Dix again reiterated that better long-term care services are needed in Surrey as our population ages. He said the number of residents aged over 80 is expected to increase by 230 per cent in the next 20 years and the province cannot accept acute-care hospitals becoming long-term care homes,” it said.

A new Cloverdale hospital with a cancer centre and a new cancer centre in Kamloops will not be completed or receive patients until 2027, the release stated, with announcements made, but no timeline given, for a new cancer centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

“In the meantime, cancer patients are being sent to Bellingham in the U.S. for treatment,” CARP said in the release.

“Minister Dix has been Minister of Health since 2017. In spite of the unforeseen perils COVID brought, CARP wants to know what is going on. Why wasn’t a new tower considered five years ago that would have been built by now?”

At a Surrey Board of Trade event in May, Dix noted he was appointed minister of health after the 2017 election at a time when long-term care homes in B.C. were supposed to be funded at 3.6 care hours per person, but almost all care homes in Surrey were “dramatically under that, such that residents in Surrey care homes got 40 minutes a day less direct care than the provincial government said they should have,” he said at the event.

Peace Portal, Hilton Villa and Guildford Seniors Village were the lowest funded care-hour care homes in B.C. and Surrey’s 75 care homes had under 2.9, Dix said, “which is dramatically and unacceptably and dangerously low. So we had to change that, and we did. Every one gets funded more than 3.36 now and the average in Surrey is 3.53.”

Still, CARP feels the government should be fast-tracking health care professionals who aren’t from B .C.

“Why are doctors and other health care professionals from out-of-province not being fast-tracked and allowed to work in B.C.? Why is the promise of a new medical school at SFU the best answer we are given when its first student intake won’t be until September 2026?” the CARP release questioned.

“Announcements are wonderful, but actions speak louder than words.”

– with files from Tom Zytaruk


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Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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