Investing in people is investing in health care and social services, HSA tells provincial budget committee

HSA President Val Avery presented to the provincial legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services this week, and urged government to invest wisely in the people who deliver the health care and social services British Columbians rely on.

“The provincial government’s promising and ambitious new health care directions will require health human resources planning for health science professionals, and should not be limited to one or two professions, such as nursing and medicine where the greatest focus remains,” Avery told the committee.

“We believe that a Health Science Professions Policy Secretariat, similar to the existing Nursing Policy Secretariat within the Ministry of Health, is necessary to make concrete progress on workforce challenges facing health science professionals, which are the second-largest health professional group with the greatest number of distinct disciplines.”

In its submission to the Standing Committee, an all-party committee of the legislature tasked with listening to British Columbians about their priorities for the 2019 provincial budget, HSA acknowledged the important investments made by the government in 2018, which include a bold child care plan, and commitments to improving the delivery of health care and social services. In its submission, HSA urges the government to continue on that track.

“Budget 2019 is an opportunity to continue to reinvest in BC’s public health care system and build a strong foundation that will improve the health and wellbeing of all British Columbians in communities across the province. It is important to provide adequate funding for prevention-oriented health care and social services, including early childhood intervention services, as prevention increases health equity and makes more cost-effective use of health care resources by reducing the use of acute and emergency services,” the submission says.

The submission calls for the Ministry of Health to focus on human resources strategies that address shortages in health science professions, improve access to multidisciplinary primary care and mental health services, and improve access to early intervention services for children with disabilities.

In its submission, the union also applauds government’s recent decision to align with the growing body of evidence showing that public-private partnerships are not fiscally prudent, and to pursue the Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment as a publicly delivered design-build project.

HSA’s full submission can viewed and downloaded at the HSA website here.

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