NDP leadership hopeful Anjali Appadurai promises 25% raise for nurses

Click to play video: 'Anjali Appadurai announces plan to tackle health care system'
Anjali Appadurai announces plan to tackle health care system
One potential BC NDP leadership candidate says she'll tackle the health-care system if she becomes the next premier. Anjali Appadurai announced her 'Healthy People, Healthy Communities' plan Wednesday, Richard Zussman has more on the details and the reactions from those working on the front lines. – Oct 13, 2022

Anjali Appadurai is promising sweeping changes to some health-care services in the province if elected leader of the BC NDP in December.

If she succeeds John Horgan as premier, she promised to give nurses an immediate 25-per cent pay raise and replace Urgent Primary Care Centres with Community Health Centres.

She also vowed to provide free and accessible counselling services across all health authorities.

“As a lifelong New Democrat, I know that our party has a legacy of instigating visionary changes to improve the health of people and their communities, a legacy that can be traced all the way back to Tommy Douglas and the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act,” Appadurai said.

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In a health-care policy paper released Thursday, Appadurai also promised compensation increases for home care and long-term care workers, including cost-of-living adjustments to prevent inflation from driving workers away.

Appadurai is one of two candidates vying to replace Horgan, but her candidacy has not yet been approved by the BC NDP. Her campaign is currently under investigation due to concerns about membership sign-ups.

Members of the BC NDP executive are concerned the campaign is allowing a potential “hostile takeover,” encouraging BC Green Party members to quit their party just to vote for her.

Click to play video: 'NDP leadership challenger Anjali Appadurai’s campaign is under investigation by Elections BC'
NDP leadership challenger Anjali Appadurai’s campaign is under investigation by Elections BC

Appadurai’s campaign said the policy paper was compiled after input from health-care experts, frontline health workers and those on the front lines of social movements.

The policy paper states that the new Community Health Centres replacing Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCC) will provide urgent and extended-hours services.

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“UPCCs have the infrastructure and funding, but don’t include the essential elements described above to provide the longitudinal and integrated care that communities need to access,” the plan reads.

“These CHCs could be governed by community boards or through a shared governance model, depending on the community context.”

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BC Greens ask province to release private fee-based healthcare programs report

The plan also addresses what Appadurai describes as “the growing involvement of for-profit corporate entities in primary care.”

It states the government must ensure that major corporations providing health care services in B.C. — Telus, for example — are operating within the letter and spirit of B.C.’s Medicare Protection Act and the Canada Health Act.

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“Corporations, which are profit-driven, have less ongoing responsibility for patients, which can divert more complex work to other primary care providers while also upselling patients on unnecessary treatments, profiting off patient data, and shifting doctors away from the public system,” it reads.

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Additional promises from Appadurai’s health-care plan includes more resources to expand Indigenous-led, culturally-safe primary care services across the province, and the immediate implementation of a safe supply regime to combat the toxic drug crisis.

If she defeats challenger David Eby in the race, the paper states she would also ensure equitable access to health-care for all, regardless of their immigration status.

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