On Friday April 27th, 2018 CAOT-BC attended the 47th annual Health Sciences Association (HSA) convention in Vancouver BC. Over 250 healthcare professionals from around the province gathered to discuss the 2018 HSA Annual Report.
Resolutions were debated over the course of two days, covering the areas of education, equality and social action, governance, health services, and labour relations.
Resolutions of note included:
- The HSA will “continue to resource the work that is being done on excessive workload through policy grievances and other means to improve members’ working conditions.” (Carried)
- The HSA will “lobby the provincial government and with [their] partners to provide funding required to provide adequate staffing levels in health care and community social services” (Carried)
- The HSA will “work with provincial government to review and expand the Child and Youth with Special Needs criteria to meet the needs of children with a broader range of disabilities.” (Carried)
- The HSA will “continue to advocate and lobby the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the provincial government to designate early intervention services as critical and provide financial resources consistent, attainable, and quality early intervention.” (Carried)
- The HSA will “lobby the government to improve services in residential care facilities across the province and ensure fairness across facilities by allocating resources more equitably, providing medically necessary equipment and staffing appropriately.” (Carried)
- The HSA will “advocate and lobby for the provincial government for mental health services for children and youth.” (Carried)
In addition to the resolutions, different committees within HSA, such as the Political Action Committee, provided an annual report on their initiatives. The Political Action Committee shared their success with the Constituency Liaison program, in which HSA members are trained to meet with their MLAs to share information about HSA, for example the effectiveness of multidisciplinary teams in treating mental health and additions. As well, the committee highlighted the success of Foundry and the establishment of seven new facilities across the province.
The Minister of Health, the Honourable Adrian Dix, was a guest speaker. He discussed provincial health initiatives, such as team-based primary care and reducing surgical wait times, as well as the importance of addressing the social determinants of health in reducing health inequality and improving access to public care in British Columbia.
Another point of interest was that HSA members across health disciplines met to establish bargaining priorities, such as workload and wages, for the March 2019 collective bargaining agreement with the provincial government. CAOT-BC will be following this as it unfolds.
To learn more about HSA, their initiatives, and how they represent occupational therapists visit http://www.hsabc.org
Post by Meredith Blinkhorn, fieldwork student with CAOT-BC.