THE Province said on Monday that it delivered on its promise to provide faster access to improved health-care services closer to home in 2019.
Government put people first with long overdue investments in more doctors and nurses, building new hospitals and care centres, and reducing wait times.
“Our whole province benefits when people are healthy and able to learn, work or raise a family in their community,” said Premier John Horgan. “For 16 years under the old government, people were forced to wait longer to get less care. Those problems can’t be fixed overnight, but we’re proud to be investing to make sure more people can access the care they need, when and where they need it. Our government will never stop working to deliver a stronger public-health system that gives your family peace of mind and puts people first.”
The government is providing better, faster health care to people around the province by:
* increasing access to diagnostics, which resulted in about 44,000 more MRIs in 2018-19 than the previous year, exceeding the original target;
* ensuring seniors get better care through an investment of more than $1 billion over three years in primary care, home health, long-term care, assisted living and respite services;
* opening the Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre, providing easy-to-access services where people receive help fast in a welcoming environment; and
* launching A Pathway to Hope, laying out a 10-year vision for mental health and addictions care that gets people the services they need in order to tackle problems early on and support their well-being.
British Columbians are also benefiting from investments in new and modernized hospitals:
* In total, 13 new major health capital projects are underway or complete following years of inaction and delays from the previous government.
* Progress continues on a second hospital for Surrey to meet the growing demand in B.C.’s fastest-growing community.
* Quesnel will be home to a new emergency department and intensive care unit with redevelopment of the G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital.
* Two new patient care towers and upgrades at Burnaby Hospital will give residents faster access to care.
In 2019, there were more options to seek medical attention than ever before:
* Over 82,000 patients have already benefited from urgent primary care centres, which connect people who don’t have a family doctor to the care they need.
* Open late and on weekends, urgent and primary care centres can help people with conditions such as flu-like symptoms, headaches and earaches, minor cuts and sprains.
* Urgent primary care centres are now open in Surrey, Langford, Kamloops, Quesnel, Prince George, Nanaimo, Vernon, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, East Vancouver, Burnaby and Vancouver, with centres opening soon in Kelowna and Victoria.
The government is making life more affordable for British Columbians by:
* reducing Medical Services Plan (MSP) fees by 50% and eliminating them completely by Jan. 1, 2020;
* reducing or eliminating PharmaCare deductibles for 240,000 B.C. families with net incomes under $45,000 – a $105-million investment over three years;
* removing the age restriction for insulin pump coverage, so any British Columbian who requires one to manage their diabetes has access under PharmaCare; and
* expanding the use of biosimilar drugs, which are more economical versions of expensive biologic drugs, to create opportunities for new drug listings and boost existing coverage for patients – saving about $96.6 million over the first three years.