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BC Nurses’ Union President to join with advocates calling for federal action on healthcare at upcoming Premiers’ meeting

July 22, 2013

BCNU President Debra McPherson, on behalf of the nurses of BC will be joining other medicare advocates at Niagara-on-the-Lake this week. She, along with other defenders of universal public healthcare, will be calling on the Premier’s to insist that the Prime Minister return to a provincial/territorial and federal table, in order to work together to insure all Canadians will have continued access to a comprehensive healthcare system.

Premiers from across Canada will be meeting at Niagara-on-the-Lake from July 24-26 for the “Council of the Federation” meetings. This is their last expected Council of the Federation before the expiration of the National Health Accord in 2014. That accord set out national priorities for improving access to care and also established national funding formulas. These formulas reversed the ongoing cuts to health funding from the 1990s and increased the share of federal contributions to the provinces for healthcare. Other significant healthcare initiatives that were part of the accord discussion such as; managing wait times, establishing a National Pharmaceutical Strategy to reduce drug costs and planning for adequate and affordable home and continuing care needs for all Canadians, have been simply abandoned by the federal government.

“In addition,” said Debra McPherson, “there has been no action to implement the National Mental Health Strategy and the federal government has failed to act to uphold a single-tier medicare system, especially here in BC, as they have ignored private clinics who are extra-billing patients. Especially troubling to nurses and other healthcare professionals has been the federal government’s recent cuts to healthcare for refugees”.

Prime Minister Harper will not attend the Niagara-on-the-Lake gathering and in fact as a rule, he no longer attends first ministers’ meetings. Instead the federal government under Harper has unilaterally determined that the federal share of funding for healthcare will decline by $36 billion in coming years.

For more information contact:
Debra McPherson, BCNU President 604-209-4253
Sharon Costello, BCNU Communications 604-868-4261

For more information contact:
Sharon Costello
Phone: 604-868-4261

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