B.C. Liberals blame South Asian community for problems at Fraser Health, says NDP

LIBERAL Minister of Health Terry Lake is blaming the South Asian community for over congestion and crowding at emergency rooms within Fraser Health, say the New Democrats.

“Rather than take responsibility for the Liberal government’s failures, the health minister is blaming the South Asian community for overcrowded emergency rooms at hospitals across the Fraser Health region,” said New Democrat Deputy Health Critic Sue Hammell.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen this kind of blame put on the South Asian community by the Liberal government. Just a few years ago, then health minister Kevin Falcon made similar comments claiming the community was to blame for crowding at hospitals. This kind of blame game is simply unacceptable.”

Hammell was responding to comments made by Minister of Health Terry Lake on Wednesday that suggest the South Asian communities of the Lower Mainland are responsible for congestion at Fraser Health hospitals, saying Fraser Health “has a very diverse population, South Asian population that’s higher than others. So you have to have a different approach sometimes when you have different cultures that view health care differently perhaps than others.”

Lake continued, “You can see that there are people showing up at emergency in Fraser Health with fairly low-level clinical concerns that could be best looked after in an out-patient situation in primary and community care.”

She noted that the recently released review of Fraser Health suggests that the real problem is the lack of community, primary care, and added that it makes no sense that at the same time the review calls for more community care, the Liberals are closing community health centres across Vancouver. The closure of these clinics has only added to the problem of doctor shortages, said Hammell.

She added that despite being the fastest growing region, Fraser Health has the lowest per-capita health funding in B.C.

“It’s time for the Liberal government to stop pointing the finger and stop blaming the South Asian community for Liberal mismanagement of our health care system. It’s time for the B.C. Liberals to implement real change that helps patients achieve good health.”