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As B.C.’s health care crisis grows, where is Adrian Dix?

VICTORIA (August 4, 2022) – With the ongoing erosion of B.C.’s health care system and the continued lack of urgent action from the NDP government to address the now system-wide crisis, the BC Liberals are asking the question, where is NDP Health ​Minister Adrian Dix and the NDP’s long-promised health care human resources plan?

“For months we have watched the crisis in B.C.’s health care system grow and tragically, some British Columbians have lost their lives as a result of the dysfunction in the system. This has become a province-wide crisis that continues to get worse by the day, and yet Minister Adrian Dix refuses to take any responsibility or offer any short-term solutions,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Critic for Health. “From the start, Minister Dix has continually downplayed the situation, failing to acknowledge the crisis or provide any accountability in the face of numerous tragedies. At this point, how can we trust that he’s going to do anything meaningful to improve the state of health care in B.C. when he won’t even admit the scale of the problem? Minister Dix should be front and centre taking immediate action to save B.C. lives but instead, he continues to dodge accountability and refuses to admit there is a crisis in our health care system.”

Over the past year, the health care crisis in B.C. has dramatically worsened, with hospitals and emergency rooms throughout the province seeing regular closures due to staffing shortages. Clearwater’s ER had 14 closures in July alone, Elkford’s ER has been closed since last September, and New Denver’s ER has seen its hours cut in half until further notice. Tragically, three people have died as a result of our understaffed and overwhelmed system — two while waiting in hospital ERs and one because their local ER was closed and there were no available ​local ambulances. ​These examples come in addition to critically low staffing levels at Urgent and Primary Care Centres and the fact that nearly one million British Columbians don’t have a family doctor.

Just yesterday, the union representing workers at E-Comm 9-1-1 wrote an open letter warning British Columbians that the province’s 9-1-1 system is broken, with hold times of five minutes for emergency calls and hours-long hold times for non-emergency calls now being the “new normal.”

“British Columbians are desperate and angry about the NDP’s inaction. Sympathetic words and promised investigations are not enough to prevent further tragedy. The human cost of this crisis is already too high and yet there is no plan to change course anytime soon,” said Bond. “We need a health minister who’s prepared to acknowledge the current reality, accept some responsibility for the health care crisis, and act with urgency to help save people’s lives. A good place to start would be for the government to follow through on the NDP’s long-promised health care human resources plan. If Minister Dix won’t​ do it, then it’s up to ​the soon-to-be-crowned Premier, David Eby, to explain exactly what he intends to do. Action is long overdue.”

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