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October 27, 2017 10:27 pm

Health Committee Preps for P.G. Visit

Monday, June 13, 2016 @ 5:52 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The  Select Standing Committee on Health will be in Prince George on July 5th, and Chair Linda Larson (MLA for Boundary -Similkameen) says  the Committee is looking for  best practices  which  can  be shared and possibly adopted  by  other regions.Northern Health has just unveiled a new  way of delivering primary care, ( see previous story) which  has  a family physician at the core, supported by  a team of professionals.  The idea is to create  a one stop shop for those with complex health issues so  they  can  have access to a number of experts  at one time, rather than waiting for referrals  or  numerous appointments with other professionals.

“It’s not than  we’re trying to do something different” says Larson, “Northern Health has some wonderful programs.  We’re not trying to take their programs off the table or  anything like that,  what we’re trying to do  is perhaps spread those programs around.”

Larson  says the Committee wants to know what kinds of programs  are being offered throughout the  north “There are some pretty good groups who are working on trying to handle  all round health care in small communities, and where there’s been best practices  that’s what we want to hear about.  It’s not that we want to change things that are working,  it’s   that if there is something that’s working out there, maybe it will work in other parts of the province.”

Health care  represents more than 40% of the entire Provincial budget  says Larson, “The cost of health care is huge,  and that ( cost savings) is definitely on the table at all times,  looking for   efficiencies and ways to do things better.”

Recruitment and retention  remain  concerns for rural BC “We’ve had some submissions in the past two years” says Larson, “There were some really neat recruitment incentives.  I know they have been used sometimes in the past and could possibly be used again.  One of them was   helping a Doctor pay back student loans providing they stayed in a rural  community for a minimum of 5 years.  We are hoping there are some communities out there that have mastered the art of attracting new doctors and keeping them, and they will tell us how they did it.”

While the Committee is looking to  find  out more about rural  programs,  there are only 2 members on the Committee (Larson and Donna Barnett who is the MLA for the Cariboo Chilcotin)  who  represent ridings outside of  highly urbanized areas,  . Larson doesn’t see that as having an impact on the Committee’s work “The rural part is only one of the things we’ve dealt with,  and certainly MLA Barnett and I can hold our own.  But overall, the Committee was formed as a bipartisan committee and the topics that we  went out to explore hit both sides of the spectrum, so   we’ve (Barnett and Larson) had just  as loud a voice on things that are urban as well as  what is rural.”

The  public hearing in Prince George is set for 9:30 to 5 on July 5th  in room 208 at the Civic Centre.  Submissions can be made until the  29th of July.

The Committee’s report is expected to be released this fall.


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