British Columbia has some of the best health outcomes anywhere in the world, but as our population grows and ages, our healthcare system will require a leader with a new approach and bold vision. That’s why I am committed to bringing a new generation of leadership to the healthcare field. Leadership focused on continuing to make smart investments in new hospitals and other facilities, to better make use of technology, and to better focus on what is best for patients.


As the next leader of the BC Liberal Party, and next Premier of British Columbia, I will…


Building our Healthcare System for the Future

I am committed to continuing our strong BC Liberal record of building new hospitals and healthcare facilities in communities across BC, because your postal code and where you live should not be a determination of the quality of healthcare you are able to access.

This includes keeping up with healthcare demands in rapidly growing communities such as Surrey. That’s why I support development of a new hospital for Surrey to better serve the needs of this thriving city and communities south of the Fraser through to the Fraser Valley. As part of the planning process for the new Surrey Hospital, we should also explore options for specialized pediatric care in partnership with BC Children’s Hospital within the facility to provide a local alternative for families with small children to avoid the need to travel to Vancouver.

Primary Care Centres

We must expand our commitment to integrated government funded primary care centres in communities across BC, so British Columbians can get treatment from a team of professionals best able to provide the care that they need in one place. This also includes significantly increasing training spaces for nurse practitioners.

Attracting Global Talent

We need to do more to attract and integrate internationally trained doctors and other healthcare providers to BC. In partnership with the College of Physician and Surgeons and HealthMatch BC, I would work to double the number of foreign trained doctors who are admitted to practice in BC each year with a particular emphasis on making it easier for British Columbians who have done their medical training elsewhere to come home to practice.

Technology

Although some progress has been made, British Columbia’s healthcare system has fallen behind many other jurisdictions when it comes to embracing technology. This is true across nearly all aspects of the system. Patients need access to digital tools to be active partners in their own care – whether it is booking an appointment or having a prescription filled online, or the ability to share their care plan with family members. Online tools will also help healthcare professionals better access patient records to not only be able to provide better care, but to help reduce medical mistakes and complications.
I will bring technology leadership to healthcare with a mandated provincial approach to embracing technology in the system in partnership with the frontline health professionals who will use it. This starts with the development of a provincial health technology and infrastructure plan.
Increased use of technology in healthcare will save lives by cutting down on medical mistakes, help provide better patient-focused care, and stretch the healthcare dollar that much further.

Better Managing Drug Prices

The cost of pharmaceutical drugs is utilizing an ever-increasing percentage of our health care resources not only of government, but of families. To get these expenditures under control, I would direct a review of PharmaCare plan deductibles and income bands with a goal of ensuring they are more manageable for low and middle-income earners.

Seniors

Seniors built our neighbourhoods and our communities. They deserve the best healthcare possible. To that end, I will make it a priority for the healthcare system to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care for seniors, and more long-term care beds need to be made available across BC in communities large and small. I will ensure that we provide better quality assurance within the healthcare sector, and better quality of life for seniors such as access to healthy culinary options, music, arts, recreation, and improved transportation and spiritual care. Under my leadership, we will address the seniors care worker shortages across the province by training more care aid and health care assistants for both residential care and home support settings. We will also better support seniors and their families, particularly when it comes to those coping with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Mental Health and Addictions

Another issue facing many British Columbia families today is mental health and more must be done to support these British Columbians and their families. That’s why, under my leadership, BC would take focused action to ensure we are providing the supports needed by children and youth, and their families.

Some of the measures I would implement include:

  • Ensuring better and faster access to mental health care and supports for children and youth in their community.
  • Requiring school districts and post-secondary institutions across the province to establish more robust protocols and staffing requirements to make sure supports are there for kids and youth who need them.
  • Ensuring clear lines of communication between schools and hospitals or community mental health, addiction and recovery services.
  • Expanding the Foundry program to more communities so that young people and families get one-stop access to a range of services.
  • Working with health authorities, law enforcement, the BC Ambulance Service, and family groups to establish best practices for how to better support families in mental health crisis situations.
  • Developing a seamless communication and information sharing system for families and youth receiving mental health and addictions supports that is accessible to caregivers and relevant professionals across all touchpoints of care.

Insulin Pump Program Expansion

Under my leadership, we will expand the insulin pump program to all individuals with type 1 diabetes, regardless of age, who meet the eligibility criteria. One of the biggest challenges for people living with diabetes is the cost of medications, devices and supplies needed to manage their disease in order to prevent the serious and costly complications such as kidney failure, blindness, heart attack, stroke, and limb amputation. Complications from diabetes account for 80% of diabetes-related costs, so improved diabetes management – including the use of insulin pumps – will reduce the health and financial impacts of diabetes on British Columbians living with the disease and on the healthcare system.