John Horgan: Four ways we’re making health care better

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Good health is the foundation of a good life. We trust doctors and health-care professionals to help us get well and be well. And we rest easier knowing that if our loved ones are sick, someone is there to care for them. Every person deserves to know that public health care is there, when and where they need it.

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Health care was neglected in B.C. for far too long. Our government is making different choices. We have been working tirelessly for the last two years to deliver better, faster health care for people. We’re reducing wait lists, building and upgrading hospitals, and improving access to health care in every community.

Here are four different ways we’re making health care work for you.

Lower-cost prescription drugs

For many British Columbians, we’ve brought down the cost of prescriptions by reducing or eliminating Fair PharmaCare deductibles and co-payments, the minimum amount you have to pay before full coverage kicks in.

We’ve reduced deductibles for families with a net income of less than $45,000 a year - while families with a net income of less than $30,000 a year have no deductible at all and get help right away. When people pay less for prescription medications, they have more money left over for the essentials. Up to 240,000 families are already benefiting from this change, which is part of our plan to make life more affordable.

More options for urgent care

Urgent primary care centres are a new addition to B.C.’s health-care system. Open late and on weekends, urgent and primary care centres can help people with conditions such as flu-like symptoms, headaches and earaches, minor cuts and sprains. These centres also connect people who don’t have a family doctor with the care they need. Urgent and primary care centres are now open in Surrey, Langford, Quesnel, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Vancouver, with centres in Prince George and Burnaby opening soon. More than 25,000 patients have already benefited from these centres, and there’s more to come.

New, modern hospitals

For people who need emergency, critical or intensive care, hospitals are a vital part of our health-care system. But our hospitals are aging, and for growing communities, overcrowding is the norm. For years, B.C. delayed building and upgrading hospitals. We failed to keep pace with our growing population.

Our government is working quickly to build, renovate and expand hospitals throughout B.C., including a new hospital in Surrey, new patient care towers in Kamloops and Richmond, a new emergency department and intensive care unit in Quesnel, and a new intensive care unit in Nanaimo.

Better access to MRIs

A clear diagnosis is the first step toward treatment and recovery. Too many patients are waiting too long for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams. That’s why we’re increasing the number of MRIs in every region.

By running existing MRI machines longer – up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week at ten sites, compared to one when we formed government – and adding three new MRI machines, we exceeded our targets and completed more than 230,000 MRIs across B.C., a 23% increase over 2017-18.

For people like Kyra in the Lower Mainland, getting an MRI in just two weeks meant peace of mind instead of waiting and worrying. And for Deborah on Vancouver Island, shorter wait times meant faster results and a targeted treatment plan from her physiotherapist.

Working for you

Our work to deliver faster, better public health care for people is starting to get results. We know there’s much more to do. We’re going to keep working hard to make sure health care is there for people in every community.

John Horgan is the Premier of British Columbia.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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