Thursday January 26, 2023 | SAANICH, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
“Ensuring what people have to be able to stay out of hospital,” is a relatively new thrust from BC Health Minister Adrian Dix.
He included that remark in his reply to Island Social Trends during a news media session at Camosun College during a health training announcement there today.
Dollars for health care:
Over the past few years, Dix has mostly been heard to focus on workers (availability, safety, vaccination issues, etc), facility expansion (like hospitals and urgent primary care centres), and legislative aspects of governing health professions (Including reducing/streamlining the number of professional colleges, and developing a new pay agreement with the Doctors of BC). Of course, all of that was interwoven and pressured by dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for now almost three years.
When asked today where the additional dollars from an increased amount of federal funding (through the Canada Health Transfer, and/or additional funding being discussed by the Prime Minister and Canada’s Premiers in Ottawa on February 7), that’s when Dix gave new focus to the preventive side of health care.
The more people can stay out of hospital, the easier it is on the health-care system. And of course is better for people to be healthier in the first place.
“We have to collectively continue to address the social determinants of health. To take the steps needed to make sure people don’t end up in hospital, and don’t end up in long-term care until they absolutely have to. And require less health care services. And that’s a key part of what the federal govt can contribute to as well. We are going to have a very significant, and continuing demands of COVID-19, we’re going to have a substantial challenge.”
National health care discussion Feb 7:
“Of course we’re hopeful that the discussions that Premier David Eby along with the other premiers and the prime minister have, that the federal government will step up its responsibilities,” said Dix today.
He summarized the various Health Ministry priorities of the last number of months including the health human resources plan with 70 actions, to make sure to have enough doctors, nurses and health science professionals. He noted the mission master agreement with The Doctors of BC to the tune of $702 million, which comes into effect February 1.
And always big on addressing the need for facilities: “We have the largest capital building program for hospitals and health centres in BC history and currently in the country.”
“We are significantly improving life in long term care, instead of all of the challenges of COVID 19 (as in the past few years) we’ve got all of those challenges in front of us,” said Dix.
“We are stepping up to that challenge with specific long-term measures. I would hope, and I’m delighted, that the federal government now wants to be part of that,” said Dix today. “And I’m happy to push those things forward.”
“But it’s about ensuring people have what they need to stay out of hospital and making sure they get the care they need in terms of primary care and health prevention,” said BC’s health minister. “And making sure they have the care that they need when they get there.” He mentioned cancer care coming along as well.
“The federal government should, must, and look forward to them being a partner in all these efforts,” said Dix.
Dix also gave a bit of detail today about how expansion of health-related services in the community will need to recognize a rapidly increasing number of people over age 70 or 75 in the community (who are remaining healthier, longer).
That includes how the social interaction needs of older persons changes — they lose friends, their children grow up and often move away, and they may need to downside or relocate for financial reasons. This provides the opportunity for community involvement in being part of expanded service delivery for older seniors.
Event at Camosun:
Today at Camosun College’s Interurban Campus, in the Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness, a new ultra sound clinic located at the college was announced by Minister of Post Secondary and Future Training, Selina Robinson. The BC Ministry of Health provided $1.2 million in startup funding, for which Minister Dix was there to also support.
The clinic is part of diagnostic medical stenography program for which $1.4 million was provided in 2019.
“Investing in health care training programs and the work force for people to access the care that they need, when they need it,” is what the program highlights, said Minister Robinson. She says that “health care, students and economy work together” to deliver services.
More to come on this announcement.
Camosun College is in Saanich, a fact promoted proudly by Saanich South MLA Lana Popham who is now the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke is a long-time journalist, delivering news through a socioeconomic lens through Island Social Trends.
Based on the west shore of south Vancouver Island, IslandSocialTrends.ca covers news of the Greater Victoria area, south Vancouver Island with insights on BC and national issues.
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications edited by Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc. The series: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).