Message from the Minister and
I am pleased to present the 2006/07–2007/08 Service Plan for the Ministry of Health. This plan outlines the strategic priorities and key initiatives for the health system over the next three years.
Our health system is one of British Columbia’s most cherished assets, and we are committed to ensuring it continues to provide British Columbians with high quality health services that meet their needs now and in the future. Over the past five years we have worked hard in British Columbia to modernize and reshape our health system to allow it to meet the evolving needs of our citizens and remain sustainable into the future. We have made tremendous progress, and were recently recognized by the Conference Board of Canada as having the best overall health system performance in Canada. Our PharmaCare program and chronic disease management approaches lead the country, while our cancer treatment network continues to contribute to British Columbians having the best cancer outcomes in Canada. We’ve focused on designing and delivering evidence-based, best practice health services that best meet people’s individual needs. For example, we’ve modernized the residential care sector to increase independence for seniors, and enhanced important services like BC NurseLine to ensure citizens have access to health information and advice when they need it.
As we move forward, our work will be guided by our government’s Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade. Health is a key component of those goals, and our vision of a modern health system is one that supports British Columbians across their life span, whether they need support to stay healthy, get better from an illness or injury, live with and manage a chronic disease or disability, or cope with the end of life.
This service plan shows how we will build on our accomplishments and extend innovation across the continuum of health services. We will encourage and help people to enjoy healthy lifestyles and the benefits of healthy living through ActNow BC, the most comprehensive health promotion program in North America. At the same time, we will also work through our world-class public health networks to protect British Columbians from preventable illnesses by monitoring and safeguarding against the outbreak of diseases like avian influenza and West Nile virus.
Our service plan demonstrates the ministry’s commitment to providing timely access to needed health services when people do get sick or injured. We will continue to implement innovative strategies to provide access in a timely manner to vital services such as cancer treatment, cardiac care, sight restoration and diagnostic imaging, and will strategically invest in providing more surgeries to improve access and address the growing demand for hip and knee replacements for British Columbians. We will also continue to focus on ensuring our hospitals and emergency rooms are available and able to meet the needs of patients when they are required.
Our strategies to further improve the quality and safety of services, particularly for people with chronic diseases, mental health and addictions patients, and those at the end of life, will remain priorities. And we will also continue with the renewal of residential, home and community care to better meets the needs of modern British Columbians. Our priority in this area is completing 5,000 new residential care, assisted living and supportive housing with care beds by December 2008.
This service plan also contains strategies focused on improving the overall efficiency and sustainability of our public health care system. We are embarking on a major eHealth strategy to utilize advances in technology and information systems that will enable practitioners to deliver services more efficiently and safely. And we are also continuing to implement our health human resource strategies to ensure British Columbia has the appropriate mix and number of health professionals to deliver high quality services today and in the future. Further, we will continue to make strategic investments in our health system infrastructure to ensure the health system has the capacity to meet the population’s health needs. A number of capital projects are planned across the province, including expanding facilities providing services to residents of Surrey where the pressure of population growth is the highest in the province.
The Ministry of Health 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of February 16, 2006 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.
Honourable George Abbott
Minister of Health
February 16, 2006