Message from the Minister and
I am pleased to present the 2005/06 Annual Service Plan Report for the Ministry of Health. This report details the health system's performance in delivering high quality health services to our citizens, and provides information on the many health system innovations and advances that have occurred across the Province.
Our work over the past year has been 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. Our commitment to health care was supported in 2005/06 by a record $11.4 billion health budget, an increase of over $3 billion from 2000/01. This report shows how this funding was strategically invested to provide services and foster innovation across the continuum of care.
In 2005/06 we expanded ActNow BC, the most comprehensive health promotion program in North America, to help people enjoy healthy lifestyles and the benefits of healthy living. At the same time, we also worked to protect British Columbians from preventable illnesses by expanding immunization programs and by monitoring and safeguarding against the outbreak of diseases like avian influenza and West Nile virus.
The Ministry also continued its commitment to providing timely access to needed health services when people do get sick or injured. In 2005/06, the Ministry made significant investments to improve access to a range of services, including implementing innovative approaches to provide more hip and knee replacements for British Columbians. In addition, we continued to work to ensure our hospitals and emergency rooms meet the needs of patients when they are required.
In 2005/06 we expanded our strategies to 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. We also continued the renewal of residential, home and community care to better meets the needs of modern British Columbians. In this area we continued to work toward completing 5,000 new residential care, assisted living and supportive housing with care beds by December 2008.
This annual report also provides information on the important strategies the Ministry undertook in 2005/06 to improve the overall efficiency and sustainability of our public health care system. The Ministry has made significant investments in health research to improve care, and has made good progress on its Provincial eHealth strategy which is utilizing advances in technology and information systems to allow services to be delivered more efficiently and safely. We also implemented many health human resource strategies to ensure British Columbia has enough health professionals to deliver high quality services today and in the future. We increased training opportunities in health professions and expanded programs to support foreign educated health professionals to work in British Columbia. In addition, we successfully reached new labour agreements with professionals and workers across the health system which represents a tremendous opportunity to work together to improve health services for British Columbians.
Overall, British Columbia has made tremendous progress in redesigning the health system, and in 2005/06 was recognized by both the Conference Board of Canada and Cancer Advocacy Coalition as national leaders in health care. The Conference Board rated B.C. as having the best overall health system performance in Canada, while the Cancer Advocacy Coalition noted our Province provides the timeliest access to cancer drugs and has the best cancer outcomes in the country. British Columbians can be proud of our provincial health system, and know that we are continuing to make the right investments to ensure they continue to receive the best care in Canada.
This 2005/06 Ministry of Health Annual Service Plan Report compares the actual results to the expected results identified in the Ministry's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update September 2005. I am accountable for those results as reported.
Honourable George Abbott
Minister of Health
June 30, 2006