Advocate for B.C. seniors should be independent

Dear editor,

We want to commend the provincial government for reappointing Kim Carter as our provincial ombudsperson.

Dear editor,

We want to commend the provincial government for reappointing Kim Carter as our provincial ombudsperson.

Ms. Carter has done superb work with her team on the seniors’ services and issues (The Best of Care, Parts 1 & 2). In fact, we have studied the two reports and agree with all of the recommendations.

We are writing to the B.C. government now since we want it to know that while we appreciate and welcome the creation of the seniors’ advocate, we believe that the position should not be part of the bureaucracy responsible to the Ministry of Health, but separate from it, much as the Children’s Advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s position is.

Most major seniors’ organizations in B.C. agree with that change.

Some of the recommendations in the ombudsperson’s report give specific dates for implementation of certain items, e.g., Recommendation 82 “to bring sections of the Residential Tenancy Act into force by Jan. 1, 2013” as they pertain to assisted living residents. Recommendation 124 asks that Health Authorities meet the “3.36 daily care hours for residential care by 2014-15.”

One recommended date is April 2013 for “Quality of Care standards.” (Recommendation 133.) Another date that was for last fall was October 2012 for establishing “provincial care licensing policies.” (Recommendation 150).

We hope that the seniors’ advocate would be given enough powers to oversee the timely implementation of such recommendations. As well, the mandate needs to include the Advocate’s ability to recommend systemic changes as needed.

We might mention in passing that we are a local seniors’ organization that has existed for five years in the Comox Valley. We are also aligned with other seniors’ and caregivers’ groups in the province.

We would appreciate hearing from the Ministry of Health soon. We could meet with Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, if her time permitted.

Gwyn Frayne,

Comox Valley

Editor’s note: Gwyn Frayne writes in behalf of SOS (Support Our Seniors).

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