Healthcare continues to be a top priority for people living in Saanich North and the Islands. Healthcare spending has increased by $8.43 billion since Minister Adrian Dix took control of the health file.
From what I have heard from my constituents, they are not seeing the benefit from the Minister’s massive expansion of spending.
His inability to get value for the billions of dollars he is dumping into a healthcare system, is diminishing the quality of life of British Columbians.
Yet, day after day we hear how the Minister is going to spend more money while the people who are paying for languish in the system he continues to defend that is not working.
Health care continues to be a top priority of my constituents. On this health minister’s watch, the emergency room on the Saanich Peninsula is closed indefinitely in the evenings, and walk-in clinics are closed or closing. On Salt Spring, there is a critical lack of family doctors, no walk-in clinics, no UPCC or the long-promised team-based primary care network. So the ER, Lady Minto, becomes the de facto health care for all. On Saturna, residents are in a frustrating health care bureaucratic vacuum.
This minister celebrates spending more money and gets worse results. It’s my constituents and the people who are working on the front line that are paying the price. When is he going to admit that his approach in delivering the results for the people of the of this province is not working?
Hon. A. Dix:
Last year, we put in place a health human resource plan, one that is delivering for British Columbians. More than 5,300 more nurses registered this year with the College of Nurses. Not my statistics — the facts from them. 564 international medical graduates approved this year. 66 primary care networks in British Columbia and supports for communities across B.C.
There are challenges. There are challenges in many communities. But the way to resolve those challenges is to increase the level of staffing across our system, to recruit more nurses and to retain more nurses by supporting them in the workplace. That’s precisely what we’re doing in his community and across B.C.
Mr. Speaker: Member, supplemental.
Access to health care is not improving in my communities. Access to health care is getting worse in my communities. From what I’m hearing from British Columbian communities right across this province….
This morning, the government caucus heard from the nurses about the dangerous impact that staffing shortages are having in their workplace. I’ve heard how chronic nursing shortages have left patients unattended. Seniors are left stranded in their beds with no access to washroom or shower facilities. Families are hiring private care aides for their loved ones in hospital.
My office is managing way more files than we should be that should be dealt with by the patient quality care offices. But no results there. Patients are unnecessarily filling hospital beds, because doctors are reluctant to release them back into the community because there’s no care for them there. Hospital staff have approached me, exasperated, devastated, traumatized and fearful of speaking out, because they don’t believe this minister when he says that they’re free to speak without reprisal.
In 2016, the ministry spent $17.95 billion on health care. In 2022, same ministry, different minister, $26.38 billion. Yet somehow we have worse results. My question is to the Premier. The health minister spends more money for worse results. It isn’t working. At what point will this Premier say that enough is enough?
Hon. A. Dix:
I did meet with nurses this morning. British Columbia is leading North America — one of the leading jurisdictions in the world — in establishing nurse-to-patient ratios.
We’re doing that by working with nurses, by developing plans and programs, working with them to recruit more, and they’re having some success. Those are directly funded, the member will know, in our agreement with the government of Canada: $750 million for nurse-to-patient ratios over the next three years.
In our collective agreement, more funding for nurses, for education, for leadership; more funding for opportunities for laddering and nurse communities; more funding —$60 million — to support nurses in the workplace, to support issues of challenges that they’re facing in the workplace.
This is practical, tangible action. We’re not doing it, as we did with doctors, on our own. We’re doing it by working with nurses. That is the way to get solutions for patients.