As a member of the BC Health Coalition, the BC Rural Health Network receives regular updates and information from the BC Health Coalition. Their most recent information in the form of a request is shared below.

Now is the time to let Health Minister Dix and the BC government know that we want public health care solutions to surgical wait times. Earlier this month, the government announced plans to deal with the biggest surgical backlog in our history.  It includes some commitments to bold public solutions, but also worrying plans to expand the use of for-profit surgical clinics.

By sending an email to Health Minister Dix, we can ask the government to continue to be bold and implement already proven public solutions that build the public capacity of our health care system at this critical time. Click HERE to send the email. 

Some more information: In the 3 years prior to the pandemic, BC’s government made significant progress in reducing surgical wait times by increasing public surgical capacity and expanding the use of efficient best practices. These improvements helped reduce wait times for all British Columbians. However with the COVID Surgical Renewal Plan, public funding is now being redirected to private clinics in hopes of a quick, temporary fix to the surgical backlog. This funding would be better spent in continuing to expand and enhance public surgery resources to help reduce wait times for everyone on a permanent basis. 

We are calling on the government to to scale up proven public surgery efficiencies including: 

  • Optimize public hospital capacity before contracting out procedures to for-profit clinics;
  • Scale up the five hip and knee central intake and team-based rapid access clinics, announced in 2018;
  • Increase OR efficiencies like the Richmond Hip and Knee Reconstruction Project by improving the scheduling of surgeries and recovery beds;
  • Streamline waitlists by moving them from individual surgeons’ offices to centralized health authority waitlists;
  • Improve access to seniors’ home and community care, which can reduce hospital use.

Now, more than ever, is the time to focus our efforts on improving and expanding capacity in the public system, implementing team-based care models that are proven effective, and addressing  staff shortages among all health care providers required to work down the backlog.

Send your email to the Minister now by clicking HERE

Together we can get through this. Let’s strengthen our public health care system now to ensure that we can get through any future crisis.

Thank you, and stay safe.

Edith Machattie
BC Health Coalition Co-Chair

P.S. If you have already sent an email to Health Minister Dix, thank you for taking action! We invite you to forward this message to your friends, family, and network to amplify the action you’ve taken to strengthen public health care.


Public funds should be for public health, not private profits

Around the world, governments fund critically important medical research and development using public money — including more than $1 billion already committed by the Canadian government to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as diagnostic tests and medicines.

Publicly funded research has led to dramatic healthcare innovations. In Canada alone, researchers have used government funds to support the discovery of an Ebola vaccine, insulin, the cardiac pacemaker and more.

Unfortunately, most countries — including Canada — rarely demand that the resulting health innovations be safeguarded for public health, or be made affordable and accessible to those who need them most.

In fact, these publicly funded vaccines, medicines and health technologies are often sold to private companies, who then determine who receives access to them — and at what price.

This is unacceptable.

Tell Canada’s Minister of Health to take concrete steps to prioritize patient access over private profits: I believe that all medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical devices discovered with public funds — including those for COVID-19 — must be affordable, accessible and available for everyone who needs them.

To add your name, click on: Public funds should be for public health, not private profits


Support the new joint statement on pharmacare

Canadian organizations are invited to sign a statement calling for the federal to immediately start implementing universal, public pharmacare.

Canada needs pharmacare now more than ever given the devastating impact of the COVID crisis. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 20% of Canadian households were struggling to pay for their medication. The mass layoffs triggered by the pandemic have now left millions more people without work-based drug plans.


Final Report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare: