After reading about our two MLAs’ criticisms of the Royal Inland Hospital staffing crisis, I felt, as a health-sciences professional, that it was necessary to speak up.
While MLAs Todd Stone and Peter Milobar, both BC Liberals, point fingers at the current NDP government for not doing enough, they fail to report how the BC Liberal government slashed health-care budgets over their 16 years in power.
This is a major reason why there is a health-care worker shortage and not enough resources. In the early years, the BC Liberals cut 326 beds in Interior Health alone — positions in the ER, ICU, long-term care, rehab, inpatient and outpatient services.
They cut registered nursing positions and replaced them with licensed practical nurses. Across BC, they cut 1,400 residential-care beds.
The BC Liberals also ended MSP coverage for eye exams, physiotherapy, massage, diabetic supplies and other services.
They made it harder to enter a health career after they froze post-secondary funding and eliminated tuition caps.
Ministers were told to compete with each other to see who could cut the most.
Among many downstream effects, such cuts led to the worsening of chronic health conditions and these end up clogging the ER, which in turn overwhelm our hospital system.
Our health-care system could have been more ready for the pandemic if the BC Liberals hadn’t treated health care as a business, rather than a public good.