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Message from the Minister and Accountability Statement

I am pleased to present the 2008/09 – 2010/11 Service Plan for the Ministry of Health. This plan outlines the strategic priorities for the health system over the next three years.

I am honoured to serve as the Minister of Health as our government continues to significantly invest in improving the health care system and the health of British Columbians. Our government is working to strengthen health care to meet the needs of patients, and ensure that every British Columbian can access the care they need, when they need it.

Last year we held the unprecedented Conversation on Health. The year-long conversation gathered input from across the province on how the health care system can be strengthened within the framework of the Canada Health Act. It was the single largest public discussion on health in B.C. history and included over 12,000 submissions as well as thousands of people taking part in public forums across the province, providing their ideas on the future of the health system.

As we move forward we will be guided by what we have heard in the Conversation on Health and take action to promote healthier lifestyles and to modernize the health system so it provides the best outcomes for patients. We will undertake this work within our overarching goal to ensure the sustainability of our publicly funded health system so it will be available to those who need it now as well as being available for future generations.

The Ministry of Health will continue to work to improve the health of British Columbians so they can live life to the fullest and fully participate in all the province has to offer. We will do so by promoting better lifestyle choices, such as healthy eating, exercise and reducing tobacco use through the Province’s ActNow BC program. We will also continue to focus on improving the health status of Aboriginal British Columbians. Since 2001, the Ministry has implemented a number of initiatives and programs to promote Aboriginal health and wellness. However, more work can be done in closing the gap in health status between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the province.

Our government is also committed to employing innovative new technologies and models of practice to improve patient care. Emergency room wait times will be improved by establishing “fast track” units and urgent care centres in conjunction with hospital emergency rooms throughout B.C. Our new surgical patient registry will give patients more control over their surgical options and give surgeons and health authorities more current and accurate information for scheduling surgeries. We will implement an electronic health record system across the province to give patients faster, safer and better health care by placing medical information in the right hands at the right time.

All of our work will be guided by the need to ensure the long-term sustainability of the health system, including making sure there is an adequate supply of health workers. Accordingly, government will continue to expand training programs for health professionals and work to employ our health human resources in ways that best meet the population’s needs.

The Ministry of Health 2008/09 – 2010/11 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 14, 2008, 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 14, 2008

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