Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Closure of Vancouver General Hospital domestic violence clinic called “brutal” and “shocking”

Internal Vancouver Coastal Health memo obtained by 24 hours

24 hours exclusive

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority nixes VGH domestic violence program

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

Vancouver General Hospital’s existing domestic violence program is being eliminated in a move called “shocking” and “brutal” by critics – but the health authority responsible insists the changes detailed in an internal memo obtained exclusively by 24 hours are actually an expansion of services.

In a July 26 memo to VGH emergency room physicians and staff, senior Vancouver Coastal Health managers say the program is being “reconfigured” and existing jobs there “realigned” to deal with adult abuse and neglect in addition to domestic violence.

But the B.C. Association of Social Workers says the move is “shocking” and “brutal” while New Democrat MLA Adrian Dix calls it “the wrong decision” that will hurt those in need.

“It’s absolutely brutal,” said Linda Korbin, BCASW executive director. “We’re very concerned they’re closing a program that sees so many people – 20 to 25 a week – and there’s nowhere else for them to go.”

But Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson Anna Marie D’Angelo denies the program is being eliminated or the budget cut.

“There’s actually no cut in service. We increased the scope to meet the needs of patients,” D’ Angelo said Tuesday.

D’ Angelo admitted that long-time program director Kathleen MacKay, a social worker, must “re-apply” for a new position that includes dealing with adult abuse.

D’ Angelo added that an administrative position in the program will be eliminated and outpatient counseling at VGH will end, with community groups expected to offer those services.

Korbin said there had been no consultation process regarding ending the 18 year program operating out of the VGH emergency room.

Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Dix said the VCH memo says existing patients will “transition” to “similar counseling services available in the community” but existing non-profit organizations are already suffering cuts themselves.

“It’s clearly the wrong decision, the wrong approach,” Dix said. “This program has long been recognized and is the right way to go.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION not published in 24 hours

Korbin said the program is greatly needed.

“It’s important to have quick and safe access to professional staff,” she said.

D’ Angelo said the domestic violence program position was funded half by VGH and half by Providence Health Care and in the future VGH will fund a full time position with the new adult abuse duties added to domestic violence. The Providence funding for a half-time position remains, she said, but no decision has yet been made on how it will be used.

D' Angelo was unable to provide information on which community groups, if any, who will be asked to take over counselling services had been consulted prior to the decision to end the existing program. She added that there are five other social workers at VGH providing 24-hour services.

Dix warned that ending the program will force more people into emergency rooms as a result, something he says is happening in multiple locations at the direction of Health Minister Kevin Falcon.


cherylb said...

Now why would that be a surprise? This government has consistently shown it doesn't care about people in BC. They don't care about seniors, the poor, the addicted, the sick, the mentally ill, kids, etc, etc...Why on earth would they possibly care about a few women who get beat up by their partners?

Anonymous said...

Why is anyone shocked and surprised by this attack on the BC health care system?

Everyone in BC lined up to bask in the 21 day glow of the Gordon Campbell multi-billion dollar ego-Olympics . . . where did you puck-heads think the dollars to pay for this corporate-coke-up would ultimately come from ?!

If you think there are health cuts now just wait until next year.

Also wait until BC Health goes after the hundreds of Seniors and "others" they want to liquidate from or pay extra for primary health care.

You should take a hard look at the Gestapo tactics being used to extort fees and special payments by the Health Ministy's "Investigations and Audit" Division (its bunker is located in Burnaby, with its head office in Victoria).


Anonymous said...

"are actually an expansion of services"

That's the kind of statement that precedes the guillotines. That said as a historical reference because the statement makes me angry - violence is the dumbest form of protest.

Anonymous said...

THE GREAT SATAN anonymous 1:35 is an imposter!

the health care cuts are needed, the campbell government has never made any mistakes

I worked with the Provincial Liberals for years and they never once did anything irresponsible.


Anonymous said...

Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson Anna Marie D’Angelo "was unable to provide information on which community groups, if any, who will be asked to take over counselling services had been consulted prior to the decision to end the existing program."

And that is why this is such a problematic decision - it smells like Vancouver Coastal Health managers are 'flying-by-the-seat-of-their-pants'.

Anonymous said...


The Campbellite fart-catcher attempting to impersonate me (comment #4 / anon:2:59pm) represents exactly the kind of Public Affairs Bureau plutocrat best deserving of "Nacht und Nebel"

If this person really had ever known me he would know I mean it most sincerely.


Crankypants said...

These health authorities must be under strict orders to hack and slash wherever possible.

It never ceases to amaze me how cabinet ministers such as Kevin Falcon are front and centre whenever they roll out a new programme, but nowhere in sight when one gets either deleted or watered down to such a point that they may as well be cancelled.

I guess the bureaucratic layers installed by the government to the various health authorities get paid half of their salaries for what they know and the other half for how well they can spin the continual bad news of service reductions. Maybe we can start calling them PAB-lite.

Laila Yuile said...

My stomach turns to read this post today Bill. I'm absolutely nauseated.

Can someone tell me how this fits in with the changes and recommendations following the Peter Lee inquest? The only where the Liberals voiced such concern and caring for women involved in domestic violence? The same government that has promised to make sweeping changes to the services and methods used to handle cases - EVERY SINGLE TIME A WOMAN HAS BEEN MURDERED BY HER SPOUSE?

I have been a victim of domestic assault, not once, but a couple of times. I can tell you first hand, that there are not as many services out there available to women in all walks of life as people may think. Being able to access services on an immediate basis can be the difference between leaving and staying, and for some women, living and dying.

IT is clear to me, that this government does not care about women and children in vulnerable and dangerous situations, and I back this statement up with the continued and repeated lack of action for them to make the changes called for in the Peter Lee inquest.

Cost for eliminating this program? Perhaps a couple of hundred thousand at most.

Cost of saving one woman's life ?


Anonymous said...

VCHA's closure of the VGH Domestic Violence Program is actually a corrupt ploy to cover up the involvement of VGH doctors, rn's, social workers, vpd and the police board chair in the planned and deliberate murder of a vulnerable elderly woman - and further destroy the bureaaucratic evidence . In fact Vancouver's first missing woman of 2010. JJust ask the editor of 24 hours... among others.

Radical Peace said...

Anonoymous 1:53 says:

"That's the kind of statement that precedes the guillotines. That said as a historical reference because the statement makes me angry - violence is the dumbest form of protest."

Violence is unfortunately the only REAL form of protest. A non-violent "protest" may change state implementation or not. If change occurs as a result, it is from meaningful dialogue but if not, it can be considered meaningless whining. Even if the result is change, it is not directly the result of protest but rather considered rethinking by the state.

Violent protest will not produce better results and is itself the product of the silenced masses being ignored. Realize that no state implementation (HST for example) should be considered problematic enough to protest. The real issue is the (fascist) form of governance that allows abuse of power.

As long as the state continues to oppress, there will be inevitable, sporadic at first, violent protest. That's not dumb. It's liberating.

Anonymous said...

@Radical Peace

I'm anon 1:35 (violence is the dumbest form of protest).

I don't have a good answer. This government alternately makes me very sad and very angry. I'd like to believe that we can democratically change BC. Headlines like this can make you feel pretty helpless, but I voted, I signed the recall HST and I will sign every recall in the fall petition that I can.

Radical Peace said...

I am in agreement with you. I would also like to believe that we can democratically change BC. Or for that matter Canada or probably any other democratic country. But the game is so stacked against us now that I am fearful of an ever growing tide of global revolution.

For BC, the crucial moment of truth could be the failure of the Citizen's Initiative. You've done everything that you or 700,000 other people could do but is it enough? Probably not or the fight would be over by now and the Liberals would have backed down.

In my opinion some day we may mature enough as a species to enable ourselves to make democracy viable but until then we must fight both peacefully and violently. We must continue to develop our rational side and strive for an improved democracy through dialogue though never able to attain this goal. We must also maintain a readiness to embrace our inherent violent nature and go into battle, knowing that the cause is just, that we have a better plan than is currently in place.

By this I don't mean a violent revolution for the purpose of a new leader with the same problems. As I said, violence does not offer better results, but if a better form of governance can be had (and who is to judge what is better?) then it will likely need to be put in place through force or at least a very real threat. But will those gains be worth the chaos and destruction?

That is the question that every sane person must consider individually before deciding collectively to take that step forward. It's what keeps us from descending into a permanent chaotic state but I honestly believe we can longer go forward, globally, without enduring unimaginable destruction. Let's hope I'm wrong. One way or another, we will need a new blueprint for society. My first choice is the peaceful method, I just wish it were the choice of those in power.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled at the closure of the VGH Domestic Violence Clinic. So many women's lives have been saved by this clinic's support and intervention over their 18 years of service. It was so difficult to get the issue of domestic violence priorized and the project initially funded.As one of the community members from the Downtown Eastside involved in the intial project over 18 years ago, I am furious that this government has taken this arrogant retrograde approach to women's lives.

Alley said...

It's so sad!! Domestic violence is not cutting back so why should the resources alloted!! People need all the support that is possible in these situations!! Believe me, I know, Been there/done that!! Not good!! Our gov't seems to be cutting back all resources to poorer individuals of all ages/social brackets (to everybody except the rich, that is!!)

Anonymous said...

I think, we must remember Campbell's stance on, BC children living in poverty and his minimum wage. He has the highest number of, children in poverty and the lowest minimum wage in all of Canada. Anything that doesn't put money in his own pocket, is cut. He gave himself, a 53% wage hike, and, his $2 million per year pension, says it all. Campbell has stolen, everything from BC people, he has laid his hands on. So, that women suffer abuse, means nothing to, a sociopath dictator. Not once has he ever, shown any concern for the people. Campbell is in it, for what he can steal, to fatten his wallet, and his business buddies, as well. To lie, deceive and cheat to win. What else can we expect, from klepto Gordo?

Anonymous said...

is it not funny how gordon campbells very very best friend no other then geoff plante happens to representing the business group..i am sure gordon did not have anything to do with the selection of lawyers...right

Cat1015 said...

Isn't it sad when domestic violence takes a back seat in Health Care. Fathead Gordo and his cronies are not good for much are they, well they do like to give themselves acolades and raises, other than that I have no use for them... I wrote an essay in 1975 in high school called "It't not a crime to be poor but it may as well be" about the way the poor are treated in Canada based upon a "Canadian Magazine" article (remember the one that used to come in the newspaper years ago. Seems not much as changed in 35 years has it? And now here we are full circle, kicking the poor when they are down and cancelling and kicking abused women (and men) out of valuable programs hoping something in the community will be there for them. Yep we have come a long way baby, right into the arms of Middle America... this is progress? I don't think so and I'm completely ashamed of our Liberal Government and their lack of respect for health care, broken women and men and the poor.