COLUMN: MLA Adam Olsen calls for investing wisely in primary health care

Olsen is the BC Green Party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

MLA Adam Olsen. (BC Green Party)

It’s no secret our family doctors are stressed and stretched thin. On the Saanich Peninsula, nearly a third of us do not have a family doctor. Unfortunately, the problem goes much deeper. In the next few years many of the doctors practicing in our communities will retire. There is a crisis in primary health care.

I see the people lining the sidewalk as I drive by the local clinics on my way to my constituency office in Sidney. I have heard the seemingly countless stories from my constituents, (our family, friends and neighbours) about the many ways our provincial health care system is failing us.

The primary care problem is characterized two ways, either a doctor shortage or a doctor distribution problem. To the people standing in line the distinction matters little. Add their misery and lack of productivity to the overwhelming cost of delivering the health care system. I have spoken with hundreds of front line health care workers and they are exasperated, weary and in need of relief.

RELATED: MLA Adam Olsen responds to budget 2019

The government is changing primary care delivery in British Columbia. They are developing primary care networks to help relieve the pressure on doctors. Promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and supportive/palliative care will be delivered by a team of professionals working collaboratively. Doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, dietitians and an assortment of other specialists will work as one integrated health team to provide patients a holistic health care approach. More than a dozen regions in British Columbia are already transitioning to the new model and the Saanich Peninsula is currently in the process of developing a plan to transform our care delivery.

We’ll be spending $20.8 billion on health care, which is roughly 43.4 per cent of the total budget for 2019/20. Sickness has a tremendous social cost and throwing more money at it won’t necessarily fix it. We must invest it more wisely by putting much more attention on the promotive and preventative aspects of wellness. One area we can invest is in public education and teaching people how to effectively access health care services.

I met recently with Minister of Health Adrian Dix to advocate for speedy solutions for the primary care crisis on the Saanich Peninsula. He is well versed in the challenges here and is committed to overcoming them. There are also homegrown solutions developing by Shoreline Medical Clinic (formerly Peninsula Medical) and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation (SPHF).

These issues will be discussed at an upcoming public health forum on Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. It is a collaborative event organized by the Canadian Federation of University Women and SPHF along with the Mayors of Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney.

I hope to see you at this important event. It will be an opportunity to hear from the local doctors, ask questions and get involved.

Adam Olsen is the BC Green Party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

Just Posted

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson Special to the News Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil… Continue reading

Fairfield plan ‘counterintuitive’ to affordability aims, says working group member

Plan for Victoria neighbourhood heads to public hearing Sept. 12

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Qualicum Beach school and difficult to remove

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Most Read