Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Dix leaks more proposed health cuts, but no decisions yet

NDP health critic Adrian Dix yesterday revealed another leaked document outlining possible cuts to health service in the Lower Mainland -- this time from Vancouver Coastal Health. But once again, officials with the responsible health authority are emphasizing that the proposed changes are only options being discussed, and no final decisions have been made.

Two weeks ago, Dix released a draft communications document from Fraser Health which revealed service changes which that agency had been considering.

According to published reports, the newly released document from Vancouver Coastal Health includes a proposal to reduce elective surgeries by up to a quarter for the rest of the fiscal year. That's in addition to a previously announced decision to reduce elective surgeries during the Olympics.

In The Globe and Mail, a Vancouver Coastal spokesperson described the leaked material as “a planning document that outlined one possible approach we might be looking at,” saying that “no decision has been made to implement it.”

The cuts are all part of an effort by the British Columbia's health authorities to meet their budgets for this year, after Health Minister Kevin Falcon warned in July that no additional funds would be available. Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health had predicted that, without service changes, their costs would be three or four per cent greater than their budget.

When The Tyee spoke with Vancouver Coastal's regional director of public affairs two weeks ago, he assured that decisions would be made “pretty quickly,” but was unable to be specific.

Also yesterday, Fraser Health announced that it will be eliminating contracts to external agencies to provide mental health services.

According to a report by Rebecca TeBrake of the Vancouver Sun:

The cuts will save the health authority about $400,000 of the $66 million it spends on contracts with external service providers, said Denyse Houde, director of mental health and addictions at Fraser Health Authority. The authority has a $171-million mental health and addictions budget.


Existing Fraser Health Authority staff will take on the work done by these agencies, with no loss of service or increased wait times, Houde said.

No new staff will be added.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island Health Authority is assuring residents that limits to services that it is considering do not include changes to local emergency departments, reports the Ladysmith Chronicle.

The New Democrats have accused the B.C. Liberals of encouraging health authorities to spread out the announcements of decisions to alter services.

“It appears that under the new communications strategy, the cuts will be rolled out in hopes of diluting negative reaction from local communities,” said Dix in a press release issued to accompany the release of documents from Fraser Health.

Amelia Bellamy-Royds reports for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus