Six ways we made our healthcare system stronger for people this year

There’s nothing worse than being sick or injured and not having a family doctor you can turn to quickly. Or the stress that comes with having a sick child or grandparent.

Since 2017, our BC NDP team has taken STRONG action to fix and improve our healthcare system so that everyone gets the help and support they need, when they need it.

For 16 years, the BC Liberals (now known as the BCUP) decimated our healthcare system. They slashed services and hiked MSP rates. Then, COVID-19 put an incredible strain on already stretched thin services.

Premier David Eby and our BC NDP team work hard everyday to keep rebuilding our healthcare system and making it better. Here are six strong steps we’ve taken in 2023:

1. Changing how doctors are paid — and bringing more doctors to BC

People want family doctors who know their medical history and who understand their healthcare needs. In the past, doctors were limited by how much time they could spend with patients, so we changed the way doctors are paid so they can see more patients, and spend more time with them. So far, nearly 4,000 new doctors have registered for this new model of care so that they can help more people.

We’ve also changed the way that doctors from other countries can apply to work in BC — making it easier for them to start seeing and helping patients.

2. Allowing pharmacists to prescribe for minor ailments and birth control

It can be overwhelming and time consuming to have to go into a walk-in clinic and wait to see a doctor for a minor illness, or to get a birth control prescription renewed. That’s why our BC NDP government made it easier for people to get help, quickly, for these types of prescriptions by allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control and medication for minor issues, like allergies.

Nearly 300,000 British Columbians have visited a pharmacist since July for prescriptions for minor issues and birth control. This change has made it easier and faster for people without a family doctor to get help quickly, while relieving pressure at walk-in clinics and our ERs.

3. Hiring, educating and training more nurses

Nurses provide all kinds of care to people in clinics, hospitals, and long-term care settings. And right now, BC needs more of them — a lot more.

Our BC NDP government is making it easier and faster for nurses trained in other countries to start working in BC, and offering training and bursaries to support educating more nurses to strengthen our healthcare system long term.

So far, more than 6,200 new nurses have registered to practice in BC, including 578 internationally educated nurses.

4. Founding a second medical school

Planning for the future is a key part of supporting our healthcare system. That’s why we’re opening a second medical school. By training the next generation of BC’s medical doctors now, we’re investing in better care for people, and making sure that there will be physicians to replace retiring doctors. This new school at SFU in Surrey will train the workforce we’ll need here in BC in years to come, and mean more people can train to become healthcare workers. Sad fact? This much-needed medical school would have opened its doors YEARS SOONER if Kevin Falcon’s government hadn’t refused to build it.

5. Making prescription birth control free

Prescription contraception is healthcare — but it can also be a big expense for people who need it, costing more than $10,000 over the course of a lifetime. For some people, it can get in the way of doing what’s best for a family at the time.This year, our BC NDP government made prescription birth control free. We’re the first province in the country to do so, and we hope we aren’t the last!

6. Five paid sick days a year

People shouldn’t have to choose between going to work sick or losing much-needed wages when they stay home. This year, permanent paid sick leave came into effect and nearly every worker in BC, part time or full time, now gets a minimum of five paid sick days per year.

Looking ahead to 2024 — an election year

Our work on improving healthcare for British Columbians isn’t done. We’re focused on making sure that people get care when they’re sick or injured. Look for more action from Premier David Eby and our BC NDP team in 2024.

Want to stay connected to the work we’re doing on housing and more for people in BC? Join our movement by adding your name below.