Letter: Hospital wait times are finally dropping. These are the next steps.

Editor:

After years of government inaction on wait times for surgeries, British Columbians are starting to see some progress. One year ago, Premier John Horgan announced the province’s surgical strategy to shorten wait times. 

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The strategy includes steps the BC Health Coalition has been calling for, including putting our existing operating rooms to better use, reorganizing wait lists to be more efficient, and investing funding in priority surgeries. 

The good news is, the strategy is working. A March 28 report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows wait times are going down in B.C. 

But we still have a long way to go. The CIHI report also shows B.C.’s surgical wait times are still among the longest in the country. 

It’s clear the previous government’s patchwork approach of short-term injections of funding to deal with urgent backlogs, expensive and risky contracts to private for-profit clinics, and lack of system-wide modernization only saw wait times grow.

Smart investments in public surgeries and common sense steps to modernize our surgical system is what is working to get faster care for British Columbians. Now the B.C. government needs to build on this progress by following through with the next steps in the surgical strategy such as scaling up centralized intake, assessment, and triage so that everyone can get timely care when they need it.

Adrienne Yeung, BC Health Coalition

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