Who doesn't enjoy watching a good soap opera? With a dedicated group of followers, these shows can continue on for decades. The beauty of the soap is that no matter how long you manage to avoid watching the storyline and the cast of characters essentially remains the same. Currently, I'm watching General Hospital-Burnaby Edition. In this narrative there are two feuding families, the B.C. NDP and the Liberals. Both are affluent, well-connected and nasty toward the other as they fight for control in the city. Like any good soap, the cast it employs has changed little over the past decade. For the loyal followers of the show we have the recognizable elders quick to offer sage advice. There are also the operatives behind the scenes that enjoy the control but shun the spotlight. Finally, there are the rising stars who join the cast to appeal to a changing demographic but have essentially no influence on the direction of the show.
If you just tuned in, the current storyline revolves around the consultation for the new hospital. The plot goes something like this: The Liberal operatives schemed to regain influence in the city, by using the much needed new hospital as the issue.
A new cast of rising Liberal stars, young doctors, was to be introduced to appeal to the changing demographic.
With a higher profile, the Liberal family would once again rise to prominence in Burnaby.
When the script was "leaked," the viewers of the unfolding drama sympathized with the victimized NDP.
Unfortunately, when all the theatrics are removed, residents and hospital staff are still stuck with a serious health situation - a shortage of acute care beds and opportunistic infections.
While the Liberals have done little or nothing to rectify the situation, it is noteworthy to remember it was the previous NDP government in 2000 that chose to close the 205-bed, extended care Cascade Residence - a functional, public, extended care facility attached to Burnaby Hospital, according to the Hospital Employees Union.
Clearly, closing an extended care facility under hospital control and in close proximity to Burnaby Hospital in favour of a smaller facility under a different administration would impede the transfer of sick seniors as their care status changed.
Are not the circumstances Doug Evans' family complained about recently a result of the initial decision by Adrian Dix, Corky Evans and the NDP 12 years ago? At the time, the NDP held all three Burnaby ridings, yet this decision which the HEU called "wrong" went unchallenged. The NDP's "farm team" at City Hall called the move "logical."
Instead of playing politics with seniors' lives and finger pointing, it is time to fix the problem by ensuring there is an adequate continuum of care and sufficient spaces for this growing portion of the population.
Rick McGowan, Burnaby Greens
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