Bringing Healthcare support workers back into the fold

By Brenda Bailey, MLA

Growing up in Nanaimo, I was close to both of my Grandmothers. Both have been widowed while very young, and both were single moms. My Grandma Laura worked in a union job at the Nanaimo General Hospital as a cleaner. She cleaned the Emergency department. Her job must have been brutally tough. She developed a hunch on her back, which she told me was from scrubbing floors on her hands and knees. And she was paid for her hard work. She was able to provide and retired with a pension.

In 2003 the Liberals privatized this cleaning and housekeeping serves. Did this save the health care sector money? No. The amount private health billed the health care sector for this work in fact increased once these services were no longer in house. The workers are paid very poorly, there is high turnover, and the work, anecdotally, is of lesser quality. This is how privatization extracts value – rather than adds value – to the health care system.

Under Minister Dix’s leadership, the health care sector is bringing these jobs back into the fold. I am so proud to be part of a government that is making this important change and restoring dignity to hard work. My Grandma Laura would be proud.