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B.C. spends at least $27M at private clinics to catch up on surgical backlog

The B.C. government recently released just how high the public bill has been for the use of private clinics to catch up on its surgical backlog, a figure that has been on steady climb even before the pandemic.

In 2015/2016, just $4.7 million went to private surgeries. The next year, the figure had more than tripled to $14.5 million. By 2019/20, it had reached $23 million. In 2020-21, B.C. spent $27 million.

According to BCHC research associate Andrew Longhurst, “It can become more difficult to reduce wait time in the medium- to long-term in the public system because you’re actually moving those resources — namely people, specialized health-care professionals – from public hospitals because you’re trying to outcompete and pay them for shifts in for-profit clinics”.

Click here to read CTV News’ full coverage of the story.

Federal budget a miss on pharmacare, long-term care and a health and human resource strategy

Health care advocates across the country watched April 7th’s  budget announcement with high expectations.

Ottawa’s top health care promise for the upcoming year is $3.5 billion over 5 years for dental care. The investment will help millions of Canadians, according to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Senior Economist David Macdonald, “but there’s a huge missed opportunity to move forward on pharmacare, long-term care and needed health care spending to deal with the pandemic’s impact.”

Read more about the missed health care opportunities in Budget 2022 in this month’s blog. 


I’m an emergency physician. I’m angry that governments are mishandling primary care | Times Colonist

We need investment in longitudinal primary care and a change in the payment model, says Dr. Jason Wale. READ MORE.

Funding for walk-in clinics a short-term fix for long-term illness | Vancouver Sun

Minister of Health Adrian Dix acknowledges that funding announced last week to keep walk-in medical clinics open in the Victoria region is a temporary fix as the government works on a long-term solution. READ MORE. 

Take Action

Can we count on you to be the voice for public health care in BC?

This month, renew your BCHC membership or become a new member. Click here to select an organizational, individual, or free membership. 

National Day of Action for a People’s Vaccine

On May 1st, the Trade Justice Network is calling for a national day of action for a people’s vaccine. Find out more and sign up for the pan-Canadian organizing call on April 24th HERE.

Watch & Learn

#BetterMedicare: Expanding access to care to those who are currently uninsured and/or without status | Canadian Doctors for Medicare

Register for the webinar on April 21st for a cross-country panel about expanding access to health care to people who are currently uninsured or without status.

The Crisis In Long Term Care | Richard B. Splane Lecture in Social Policy

Watch the webinar featuring: Isobel MacKenzie, BC’s Seniors Advocate; Pat Armstrong, Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology at York University; and Maire Kirwan, Private Sector Coordinator at the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Public Health News, Updates & Resources

Spotlight: the human resources crisis in health care

Health Hits the ‘Breaking Point’| The Tyee Premiere John Horgan shares the overall impression that BC health care is falling appart. Read Andrew MacLeod’s analysis of BC’s relatively low spending to fix it.

Poll: Two years into pandemic, one in three health care workers likely to quit The Hospital Employees Union released a new poll that showed that three-quarters of members had experienced pandemic-related burnout.

B.C.’s five largest public sector unions teaming up to aim for liveable wages | CityNews Cost of living increases are a key priority to stabilize our health care system. According to BCGEU and HEU, two unions representing health workers in current contract negotiations, bargaining has a ways to go to make health care jobs sustainable.

Health workers have a small budget request to tackle the Canadian care crisis: a plan | The Canadian Press Leading up to the federal budget announcement, health care workers made clear the need for a health human resource strategy.

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