BC Health Coalition

BC Health Coalition

February 18, 2014 18:04 ET

B.C. Budget Won't Meet Health Care Needs as Expiry of Health Accord Nears

More Innovation Required, Say Public Health Care Advocates

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 18, 2014) - The BC Health Coalition says that the 2014 budget is inadequate when it comes to taking the necessary steps toward improving the public system and ensuring its sustainability.

"In an era of federal government health care cuts and abandonment of national standards, it is more important than ever for B.C. to take proactive measures to steward our public health care system properly," said BC Health Coalition co-chair Rick Turner of today's budget, which projects a reduction in real health care spending.

Today's budget comes just six weeks before the expiry of the current health accord. The federal government does not intend to renew the accord, and the new funding formula for federal health transfer payments will mean that B.C. will receive less federal funding than we have over the past 10 years.

"Under the federal government's new funding plan, B.C. is facing a 5 billion dollar cut to health care," said Turner. "Without a new accord tied to national standards, it's up to the provinces to lead the way to scale up successful programs and innovations within the public system to reduce wait times and improve care."

That means B.C. should prioritize scaling up successful projects that have reduced wait times dramatically for certain elective procedures. The successes of pilot projects (such as those in North Vancouver and at Richmond, UBC and St Paul's hospitals) can be replicated and expanded so that these initiatives become the norm in B.C. rather than a few isolated successes.

"Efficiencies, such as those found in home and community care for seniors, need more support, not less," said Turner. "The savings realized from these programs compared to housing seniors in hospitals and residential care, and making more space available in these facilitates for those whom they were designed for, would improve efficiencies and deliver the services needed in a more timely manner."

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