Domestic violence program about to close in B.C.

'Cutting outpatient care will result in higher medical costs overall, in addition to suffering.' - Reid Johnson.

Reid Johnson, president of the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE)Vancouver (19 Aug. 2010) - The Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) is calling on authorities to prevent the loss of the Domestic Violence Program at the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). The 18-year-old program is slated to close at the end of this week.

HSABC president Reid Johnson says the sudden closure will put vulnerable women at risk.

“In-patient care is very different from the care that was being provided through the outpatient program that is being shut down this week,” Johnson says.

“In-patient means a woman was battered badly enough to be admitted to hospital. An outpatient program seeks to prevent such incidents from ever occurring.”

Johnson notes that inpatient care is several times more expensive than outpatient counselling.

“Cutting outpatient care will result in higher medical costs overall, in addition to suffering,” he argues.

He is calling on the authorities to listen to concerned women and community groups and rescind the closure. Over the last three weeks, women who have had the benefit of the program’s services, have been speaking out through CBC-TV and The Tyee, urging those responsible to reconsider, he said.

Johnson notes that the Battered Women’s Services Society (BWSS), one of the community groups that may be asked to accept transfers, does not have the capacity to absorb any new clients. It currently has more than 100 women waiting list for counselling.

The B.C. Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the the BC Health Coalition (BCHC) have also criticized the closure.

HSABC members and the public are being urged to visit the BCHC website and take action by sending a letter to Health Minister Kevin Falcon and Dr. David Ostrow, CEO of the Vancouver Costal Health Authority (VCHA).

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
HSABC tries to save domestic violence program

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