VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal Government is providing British Columbians with one of the most efficient health care systems in Canada.

In response to the Throne Speech yesterday, Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country and Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, praised the government’s ability to keep per capita costs to the second lowest in Canada while providing top health outcomes.

He also highlighted the important work being done by the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice to provide communities throughout the Central Okanagan with access to primary care and specialists.

MLA Letnick later added, “Our government and the health care community in B.C. are proud of the work we have accomplished so far, but there are significant challenges ahead, and more hard work to do.”

Response to the Speech from the Throne – February 12, 2014 

“… In my region, the Central Okanagan, the division of family practice continues to collaborate with primary care, community and the health system to improve patient care and improve the system at large. They are working on 15 separate initiatives aimed at improving care, and the following are just some examples of their work.

“They recently created a tool to improve communication between hospital-based physicians and community physicians to share critical medical information needed as patients are transferred between acute care and the community. It is engaged in the assessment phase of the A G.P. For Me program, and by May 2014 they will have a target population focus and identify community and healthy system partners that will focus on system redesign to improve patient care and more patient outcomes. They continue to identify pressing issues in our community and work with our specialist colleagues, such as gastroenterologists, radiologists, dermatologists and psychiatrists, along with the health authority, to improve timely access to quality services and consultations.

“Results include access to urgent CT and ultrasound from an estimated four to six weeks down to within 24 to 48 hours when urgently needed; access to on-line dermatology consults within 24 hours; access to psychiatric one-time assessments — reduced wait times significantly to six weeks; and our work with gastroenterology significantly reduced the waiting list from 9,186 patients down to 2,022 as of September 2013.

“Here is an example of what one physician has said regarding the work of diagnostic imaging:

 “I was able to get a CT done within a week for a patient, and when this was followed by an MRI, it turned up a tumour in the upper brain stem of my patient. She was so grateful for the rapid access. She had her test and saw a neurologist here and was referred to and seen by the neurologist in Vancouver — all within two weeks. The reduction in prolonged anxiety because of rapid treatment was amazing.”

“Recent work has focused on the frail elderly and created a physician group who will accept the care of orphan patients being discharged from acute care into residential care facilities. It’s another example of the divisions of family practice — an innovation in our health care system, which the Lieutenant-Governor referred to in the throne speech, that we must continue to adapt and adopt right here in B.C. if we want to continue to improve the great outcomes that we’re seeing in our province.”