Thursday, March 5, 2015

MLA Rice continues to draw attention to Interior Health concerns

Wednesday afternoon, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice picked up where she left off earlier this week, as the NDP member of the Legislature continued to press Health Minister Terry Lake to reconsider plans for privatized laundry and cleaning services at Interior hospitals.

Speaking in Question Period on Wednesday, Ms. Rice raised issues related to a plan by the Provincial government to seek cost savings through the elimination of in hospital laundry jobs. Calling the Minister's attention to potential health issues related to the government plan:

"The Health Minister suggested on Monday that cleanliness wasn't part of health care. However, keeping a clean hospital, as the minister discovered in Burnaby, is what can prevent C. difficile outbreaks. Keeping a clean hospital is the best first line of defence against superbug outbreaks. Does the minister stand by his claim that cleanliness isn't part of health care?"

Comments that he turned aside by advising the MLA that cleaning at hospitals is audited regularly and that the results remain satisfactory to drive down rates of infection in hospitals.

Ms. Rice followed up her initial inquiry with a supplemental question, offering up a reminder of the weather concerns found in the Interior region, as well as the impact on health care that the dismissal of 175 workers might have on the Interior Health Authority.

"The Health Minister knows that living in the Interior means living with delays because of closed roads and closed airports. So a plan to ship laundry to Alberta or to the Lower Mainland carries a real risk that hospitals in places like Nelson and Golden and Williams Lake and Kamloops will be without clean sheets for no other reason than the weather. That's why the minister's plan to fire 175 workers in hospitals across the region could have real impacts on health care. Will the minister admit this is a foolish plan that could seriously impact health care and stop it in its tracks today?"

They were concerns that the Health Minister did not seem too interested in addressing, deflecting the weather issues as minor in nature, turning instead to the governments determination to funnel health care money towards health care delivery.

Offering up to Ms. Rice that "on this side of the house we will buy endoscopes over washing machines any day of the week."

You can also review the exchange on the topic from the Hansard record it starts at around the 1400 mark on the right hand index.

For more items from the British Columbia Legislature see our archive page here.

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