Strengthen public health care now!
Strengthen public health care now!
In the last few months, the BC government had to make many hard choices to ensure that our hospitals and health care workers were safe and ready to deal with COVID-19. The caring and thorough response to the COVID pandemic in BC has been extraordinary. The BC Health Coalition commends Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Dix, and all frontline workers in our public health care system.
One of those very difficult choices was to postpone non-urgent surgeries, leaving many people waiting longer to get the help they need and wondering when they will be getting their important surgery. BC’s Surgical Renewal Plan was announced on May 7th to deal with the biggest surgical backlog in our history. It includes some commitments to bold public solutions, but also worrying plans to expand the use of for-profit surgical clinics. The Surgical Renewal Plan announcement can be found by clicking here.
In the 3 years prior to the pandemic, BC's government made significant progress in reducing surgical wait times by increasing public surgical capacity and expanding the use of efficient best practices. These improvements helped reduce wait times for all British Columbians. However with this Surgical Renewal Plan, public funding is now being redirected to private clinics in hopes of a quick, temporary fix to the surgical backlog. This funding would be better spent in continuing to expand and enhance public surgery resources to help reduce wait times for everyone on a permanent basis.
Send an email to Health Minister Dix now asking the government to continue to be bold and implement already proven public solutions that build the public capacity of our health care system, now and far into the future.
We are calling on the government to to scale up proven public system improvements including:
- Optimize public hospital capacity before contracting out procedures to for-profit clinics;
- Scale up the five hip and knee central intake and team-based rapid access clinics, announced in 2018;
- Increase OR efficiencies like the Richmond Hip and Knee Reconstruction Project by improving the scheduling of surgeries and recovery beds;
- Streamline waitlists by moving them from individual surgeons’ offices to centralized health authority waitlists;
- Improve access to seniors’ home and community care, which can reduce hospital use.
We know public health care is not only equitable, it also offers better quality, more efficient and cost-effective care. Nothing has made this more clear than COVID-19: the pandemic erupted in the places like long term care where our system has been most fractured by private for-profit interests.
We already know that private, for-profit delivery costs more, pulls health professionals out of the public system and is unaccountable to the public. We cannot afford to further entrench these facilities and their investors in our system.
Now, more than ever, is the time to focus our efforts on public system improvements and expanding capacity in the public system, to re-amplify the need for team-based models that are proven effective and to think about addressing staffing shortages among all health care providers required to work down the backlog.
Please fill out the email to Minister Dix in the sidebar - and edit the email to explain why British Columbia's government needs to commit to public solutions to deal with the surgical backlog.
Together we can get through this, and it is through strengthening our public health care system that we can get through any future crisis.