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Corridor health service safe for now



Massive governments cuts alter the face of healthcare in B.C. But Whistler’s service are untouched.


There are no immediate direct impacts to health care programs and services in the Sea to Sky corridor despite massive redesign plans for other parts of the province, according to the strategy plan for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

"The good news is that there is no loss of programs in the Sea to Sky Corridor," said Sandy Bauer, steward coordinator with the BC Nurses Union in Squamish.

But while there may be sigh of relief from many health care workers in the corridor for the time being, there are still genuine concerns about the future.

"I think it's still pins and needles for most people," said Bauer.

The redesign plans are sweeping in other parts of the VCHA, of which the corridor is a part.

In Vancouver, St. Vincent's and Holy Family hospitals are closing, in addition to the closure of the emergency ward at UBC.

G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre might be moving its services from its current site to Vancouver General Hospital.

And hundreds of hospital beds will be cut over the next three years.

Yet in the VCHA redesign plan there was no mention of any direct impact to the corridor.

To Gloria Healy, manager of acute care services for the corridor, the minimal impact here comes as no surprise.

"I guess that the major reason that there hasn't been cuts to the Sea to Sky Corridor is that we were not over-serviced," she said.

The interim CEO of the VCHA, Hugh MacLeod, said the strategy plan focuses on the other more immediate inefficiencies in the system and didn't have to focus on the corridor.

"We know the kind of quality of service that is being provided for example in Whistler," said MacLeod.

"And there is very efficient and high-end quality of service being provided there."

There are others who believe the services in the corridor will not be cut as long as Whistler is still in the running for the 2010 Olympics, in case it effects the bid negatively.

"There are some folks who are feeling that the delay in doing anything in the corridor is due to the Olympic bid," said the BCNU’s Bauer.

The redesign plans for the VCHA were announced on Tuesday along with the redesign plans for the other five authorities in the province.

"The status quo is no longer an option for us," said Health Services Minister Colin Hansen.