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BC Legislature Health Service Update from October 17, 2017

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BC Legislature Health Service Update from October 17, 2017

Second Session, 41st Parliament (2017)

This is a DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY of debate in one sitting of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. This transcript is subject to corrections, and will be replaced by the final, official Hansard report. Use of this transcript, other than in the legislative precinct, is not protected by parliamentary privilege, and public attribution of any of the debate as transcribed here could entail legal liability.

Afternoon Sitting

Committee of Supply

L. Larson: I'm going to ask a bit of a self-serving question for my riding, obviously, but I think it has implications around the province. You did meet, during the UBCM, with the mayors of Oliver and Osoyoos, and they brought forward to you an issue with the local hospital emergency room operation.
Normally, it serves about 10,000 people, regular residents, but in the summer and tourist season, up to 30,000. It's a 24-hour emergency, but the doctors who work it are just the local GPs who also run their own practices. They're looking for an APP for the hospital, so that we can pay differently and have permanent full-time emergency doctors.
I'd like to know whether you have been able to move forward on that at all. It's been discussed with Interior Health now for the last three to six months.
And secondly, will those critical care or urgent care centres…. Is that something that might morph into, or will 24-hour ERs morph into, that type of critical care model at some point? Is that sort of the ultimate idea with areas like Oliver that runs a 24-7 ER?
Hon. A. Dix: First of all, I wanted to thank the member for her question, her advocacy on this question. We got a chance to discuss it a bit at UBCM. I think it reflects some of the challenges of the long-standing way in which we pay doctors in B.C — of which we have an agreement now — and the needs of communities, which frequently aren't reflected in them.
We carve out, on a fee-for-service basis, for certain things, which really aren't reflected, or certain work that isn't reflected, by fee-for-service agreements.
A couple of things. First of all, it's my intention, within I think a week Friday, to go to the community and hopefully have a chance to meet with the doctors. I would invite the member to join me in those meetings, because I think that that's such a central question for the community.
I understand the situation there. I know that we have an outstanding CEO at Interior Health who's working on those questions as well. I'm hoping to go there in a short period of time and be in touch, to engage with people personally on the question. It's obviously something that preoccupied, really, the whole region, both in the period around the election, as we know, but also really for a number of years before that. This is a significant operational question and one I take seriously.
On the second point, it's not the intention for urgent care centres to be downgraded hospitals. That's not the intention. The intention is primarily…. While one goal of urgent care centres might be to relieve pressure on emergency rooms, the primary goal of urgent care centres is to address what for many people is a lack of…. Many people are not attached to a GP. This is particularly true in the member's constituency. Not only do you have the situation, partly because of seasonal work and partly for other reasons…. You have a challenge in the emergency room, but also a fairly large number of unattached individuals, unattached to GPs, who end up in the emergency room.

This is one of the things that we'd like to talk to the community about and get more informed about. I invite the member to be part of that.

Event date: 
Tuesday, 17 October, 2017
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