Letter to the editor: Seniors advocates close but no cigar

Legislation to create a seniors’ advocate was passed, but the advocate will be limited to serving at the discretion of government

Dear Editor,

Legislation to create a seniors’ advocate was passed on March 14. Unfortunately, the advocate will be limited to serving at the discretion of government and will therefore be unable to play the watchdog role that seniors need it to.

While I am pleased that the position is being created, without a truly independent advocate, and in the absence of other comprehensive action on the part of government to improve seniors’ care, we cannot address the systemic challenges seniors face.

This legislation comes one year after the release of the BC Ombudsperson’s report on the state of seniors’ care in B.C. The Ministry of Health has fully implemented only four of the 141 recommendations made directly to the ministry since the report’s release, and partially implemented only approximately 25 per cent of the recommendations.

The Ombudsperson’s findings indicate that the Ministry of Health has, in many cases, failed to fulfill its leadership role for seniors’ care in our province. Given that there is little evidence in the 2013 budget to suggest our government intends to take serious action on seniors’ care, one advocate that is tied to government cannot fill that gap.

Contributed by:

Rick Tuner, Co-Chair

BC Health Coalition