B.C. Greens release new digital ad to promote community health centres

August 17, 2023

VANCOUVER B.C. – The B.C. Green Party has released a digital ad to promote community health centres, a core component of the Party’s suite of solutions to address the ongoing crises in B.C.’s healthcare system. Community health centres are comprehensive integrated healthcare centres run by family physicians and nurse practitioners, who work in a team-based environment with specialist physicians, physician’s assistants, mental health professionals, and other support services, such as physiotherapists, dieticians, and others, depending on the needs of the local community.

“The healthcare system in British Columbia is in dire straits,” B.C. Green Party deputy leader Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi said. “The system is shrouded in bureaucracy, bound with thick red tape, and managed by government officials and hospital leaders who are not clinical care experts and who often make choices for political reasons, rather than in the best interests of healthcare professionals and patients. As a result, ERs are full, surgical wait times are too long, and stable primary care is increasingly elusive. Delivering optimal healthcare is about maximizing efficiency and eliminating redundancy and waste. Tailoring care to specific patient requirements and conditions and expanding who can provide that care are essential factors to consider.”

This summer, hospitals have been operating under dire stress. In May, Doctors of BC published a press release saying that emergency departments across B.C. were "at red alert". Later that month, healthcare workers at Surrey Memorial Hospital called on the provincial government to address the hospital’s “perilous conditions”. Earlier this week, CTV News reported that Northern Health Authority had planned to keep a Smithers hospital ER open by ordering family physicians to attend their patients in the ER, and unsupervised nurses to call 911 in urgent medical situations.

Community health centres help to relieve the pressure on B.C.’s ailing healthcare system by:

  • Freeing up family doctors from administrative work and business management so they can care for more patients, and spend more time with the patients that need it. 

  • Including nurse practitioners so that more British Columbians get access to primary care.

  • Providing more comprehensive and timely access to primary care so that ailments are caught sooner or prevented altogether. This helps to relieve the burden on Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs), hospital ERs, and the high caseloads of specialists. In other words, it helps to free up the broader healthcare system.

There are already community health centres in B.C. that are successfully bringing high quality care to communities. Whistler 360 Health and REACH Health Centre in Vancouver are proving that this model is the way forward for our healthcare system.

“At the end of the day, we cannot lose focus on what really matters in healthcare - the patient,” Gandhi continued. “Improving healthcare is not solely dependent upon the influx of more money into the system. The absolute best methods to make healthcare delivery cost efficient involve achieving good health, that is, preventing illness in the first place and optimizing outcomes for those that suffer from medical problems. 

“The B.C. Greens’ solution to the healthcare crisis includes the establishment of province-wide community health centres, which would provide multidisciplinary, integrated care, including primary care doctors, specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, ancillary healthcare workers, and mental health professionals. We want healthcare professionals to concentrate on the delivery of care rather than the administrative and business aspects of their jobs. Community health centres are a critical piece in making B.C healthcare truly accessible, equitable, and universal.”

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