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'Blame to go around': BC United accepts role in Surrey hospital crisis while pledging investment

A day after the NDP government presented its 30-point plan to address the crisis at Surrey Memorial Hospital, the official Opposition is pledging to build a tower, while acknowledging their role in the situation.

Front-line sources at SMH tell CTV News they’re cautiously optimistic about the expansion of the hospital, but worry the provincial government may not see it as a “first step in the right direction” as they do, with more investment and attention needed in the future.

Members of the BC United party toured the hospital Thursday morning and spoke to reporters about crowded conditions and frustrated staff they observed.

“We can't incrementalize ourselves out of a crisis, we have to treat it like a crisis,” said leader Kevin Falcon, slamming the New Democrats for holding a flurry of meetings only after health-care workers went public with warnings they say were ignored by Fraser Health and the province for months. 

“They're in their sixth year of government and only now they're deciding this is a crisis because the doctors have been speaking with one voice?” said Falcon.

BC United is promising another tower to further expand the hospital, acknowledging that when Falcon was finance minister and approved a $500 million expansion it should’ve been an $800 million investment instead.

When CTV News asked if that meant he was accepting some responsibility for the current government’s need to play catch-up to years of underfunding relative to the population growth in Surrey, Falcon said he did.

“I've always said that about Surrey – whatever we think we have to do, we should do more,” he responded. “Let's just assume there's enough blame to go around.” 

Health Minister Adrian Dix has repeatedly blamed the then-Liberal party for under-resourcing Surrey, but his government has continued this trend. An analysis by the Surrey Hospitals Foundation concluded that Fraser Health residents see a per capita spend of $2,229 per year in provincial funds, compared to $3,677 per capita for Vancouver Coastal Health residents. Top Stories

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