When is the health minister going to re-open Saanich Peninsula hospital emergency room overnight?

Apr 4, 2024 | 42-5, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video | 1 comment

The Minister of Health, Hon. Adrian Dix, has stood in the legislature and talked about how he is spending billions more each year on the healthcare system. His budget has ballooned from $21 billion (2017/18) to $36 billion this year.

My constituency email is full of stories from our constituency about how that same system is failing to deliver health outcomes. At some point there has to be a critical eye on whether the Minister’s approach is working.

People still can’t get access to primary care, healthcare workers are still put in dangerous situations, walk-in clinics have closed. Last summer, Island Health announced the emergency room at the Saanich Peninsula hospital would close in the evenings temporarily. That closure is not seemingly indefinite. When is the Minister going to get the emergency room open again?


A. Olsen: My constituency in-box paints a much different picture than the one that the Health Minister is painting here and has been painting in this question period for months and months on end. My constituency in-box is telling a story of a broken health care system that is costing British Columbians more, and the outcomes are not being seen on the ground in our ridings.

I bet that every single member in this House, their email inbox in their constituency office is telling the exact same story. The amount of money that this minister has spent, from $21 billion, when he became the minister in 2017, to $36 billion now, we should be seeing better outcomes, but we are not.

The seniors in my riding are being left behind. They’re not able to access primary care. They’re not able to get annual checkups. They’re not able to get their prescriptions renewed. They’re not able to inquire about developing concerns.

The emergency room at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital was temporarily shuttered overnight before being indefinitely shuttered. The question to the minister is: when is he going to open the emergency room in our riding, in Saanich Peninsula, so that the constituents in my riding have access to health care when they need it?

[2:25 p.m.]

Hon. A. Dix:

The members of the House will know that our public health care system has responded, I think, in exceptional ways in very challenging times.

To say that we haven’t had a COVID-19 pandemic, to ask a question while ignoring that — ignoring the fact that there have been in the last three years an additional 560,000 people who are registered with the MSP plan in B.C. — is ignoring the facts. In the face of that, we have set records and are leading Canada in recruiting doctors, in recruiting nurses, in recruiting health sciences professionals, in recruiting health care workers.

We’ve expanded the scope of practice, for example, for pharmacists that has brought care to hundreds of thousands of people. And we’ve created new health care positions, expanding scopes of practice for associate physicians, people who are trained as doctors in other countries who weren’t able to practise up to now, and in Saanich for example, adding positions such as a new physician assistant program, which we’re engaging in, in the hospital.

So we are continuing in primary care and in seniors care to invest in the things the British Columbia needs, and we’re going to continue to act in every community to support our public health care system.

1 Comment

  1. Curt Firestone

    The question I have is when will those who do not have a primary health care provider going to get a refund of the taxes which they paid for that service?


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