People come first in this province. And people all over B.C. have been waiting too long to see a doctor or specialist, get quality seniors’ care, or get access to publicly funded diagnostic services. This week, we made important headway on our goal to deliver better, faster, access to public health care for everyone in B.C.
Waiting for a diagnosis can often be the hardest parts of being sick. It’s stressful for the patient and family, leaving them waiting for answers and wondering what’s next. Too many British Columbians are in this debilitating position. We’re working hard to change it.
To put more patients on the path to recovery, faster, our government recently bought two more private MRI clinics to add to the public health-care system. Just one year ago, we only had one public MRI operating around the clock. This year there are eight. That means we are on track to deliver 37,000 more publicly funded MRIs for British Columbians this year alone, and a total of 225,000 MRI scans by March 31, 2019.
More people will be connected to the help they need, when they need it, with major hospital redevelopments all over the province. This week, we entered Phase 2 of Royal Columbian Hospital Revitalization in New Westminister. This project will expand emergency and acute care and increase the scope of services available to hundreds of people. Phase 1, which will be completed soon, will offer expanded access to high quality mental health care.
Seniors deserve respect and quality care. But for too long, B.C. seniors in residential care have gone without the level of care and personal attention they need. That’s why our government is increasing the amount of time staff can spend with individual seniors. This means hundreds more health-care staff are being moved from part time to full time hours, so they can better care for our family and friends and deliver the quality services that people deserve.
We have also taken steps to better support family and friend caregivers, by expanding respite care and adult day programs. And to support seniors living in their own homes longer, we’re investing in home-support services in the community.
The way I see it, our job as government is to continue to find ways to meet the growing demands of a diverse population. Our government continues to work hard to improve how we connect people to care to make sure that British Columbians get the health care they need faster and closer to home.