COURTENAY – Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard is welcoming a series of provincial government investments that will improve health care services for people living in the Comox Valley.
“For too long, people in the Comox Valley have suffered from a lack of health care services and long wait times for everything from surgeries, to diagnostic tests and residential care beds,” said Leonard. “I’m proud that our government is listening and making the needed investments to improve the services so many people count on. People in the Comox Valley are going to start seeing a difference very soon.”
MLA Leonard says her government has made a number of health care announcements in recent months which will improve the services people count on:
- The elimination or reduction of PharmaCare deductibles for 240,000 families in B.C. over three years. MLA Leonard says starting in January 2019, lower and middle income families could save up to $900 per year on prescription costs.
- $150 million over three years to expand access to primary care for those who don’t have a family doctor. MLA Leonard said her government is looking at a team-based approach, where doctors, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals work together to ensure people get care in their own communities.
- $548 million over three years to improve care for seniors. MLA Leonard said this will include investments in primary care, home and community care, residential care and assisted living.
- 120 new complex care beds for the Comox Valley by 2020. MLA Leonard said the amended RFP adds more 50 beds to the original 70, plus makes 31 temporarily-funded beds permanent. The new RFP also allows for the possibility of multiple providers, and ensures that at least one of them will allow MAiD on site, which MLA Leonard says helps to address major concerns.
- A strategy to reduce surgical wait times. Hip and knee replacement programs are being implemented immediately across the province, which will dramatically increase access to these surgeries. Dedicated operating room time for dental surgeries will also be added. MLA Leonard said those currently waiting for these surgeries should see wait times speed up soon.
- $11 million for more MRI exams, including a 26.3% increase in the number of MRIs this year through Island Health. MLA Leonard said current MRI wait times for Island residents range from 45 to 160 days, so this is good news for the community.
MLA Leonard says that Island Health has already begun to implement improvements in the Comox Valley, including adding additional adult day program spaces, investing $200,000 to increase caregiver respite services, and increasing home support hours.
“There is a lot of work to do to undo 16 years of neglect by the former government,” said MLA Leonard. “It won’t all get fixed overnight, but our government is working hard to improve the health care services people count on.”