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health funding

The Sea to Sky Community Health Council has received a one-time injection of $400,000 but is still waiting for word on whether its annual operating budget will be increased. "Brian (administrator Kines) has told us the $400,000 may be an indication they are reviewing our request, but it still doesn’t bring us up to our needed level of per capita funding," council chair Fran Cuthbert said Tuesday. Health Minister Penny Priddy and Premier Glen Clark said recently that there would be funding this year to address regions which have experienced rapid population growth, but no announcements have been made. "They said they haven’t addressed the problems of rapidly growing areas in the past because they haven’t had the money," Cuthbert said. But with federal Finance Minister Paul Martin making additional money available to the provinces for health care this year there should now be funds to address rapidly growing areas like the Sea to Sky Corridor and Surrey. The health council maintains the Sea to Sky Corridor was 17.5 per cent underfunded when health care was regionalized several years ago. Since then the corridor’s population has grown 25 per cent, yet funding for health care has increased just .5 per cent annually — the same annual increase as received by communities which have had no growth. The Sea to Sky Community Health Council has recently written to Priddy again, reminding the minister of the corridor’s needs. Meanwhile, the need for additional funding to upgrade the Whistler Health Care Centre from an 18-hour a day diagnostic and treatment centre to a 24-hour a day, seven-days a week trauma centre was the subject of a Global News story which aired Tuesday night. A Global Television crew spent the Easter weekend at the health care centre. o o o Health Minister Penny Priddy has announced her appointments to the Sea to Sky Community Health Council, effective March 31. Nina Biln of Squamish and Fran Cuthbert, Bruce MacFayden and Sylvia Passmore of Pemberton have all be re-appointed to the council. New appointees are Gord Ahrens, Robert Campbell and Debra MacArthur of Whistler, Donna Billy represents First Nations, and Diana Gunstone and Sonja Lebans of Squamish. Cuthbert remains as chair.

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