Public Health Care Solutions to Surgical Wait Times

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.