B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says system in crisis since 2020 must be transformed

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WHISTLER, B.C. — Health Minister Adrian Dix says British Columbia has been in a health-care crisis since at least the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, while acknowledging there's urgent need for change.

Dix spoke in Whistler today at the Union of B.C. Municipalities, an annual meeting of municipal politicians, during a plenary on health care.

He says the pandemic has seen primary care transition to a disproportionately digital system, creating challenges alongside crises in paramedic services, nursing staffing levels and other areas.

Dix says the number of people without a family doctor has grown from about 340,000 in 2003 to 908,000 in 2017 and is expected to be higher this year.

He says the B.C. government is working to improve the compensation model for doctors, transition to team-based models of care and increase recruitment and retention practices.

Dix says 38,000 new staff have been added to the health system in B.C. since he became health minister in 2017 and says he knows that's not enough.

"You know what everyone in this room is saying to themselves right now? Not enough," Dix says.

"We need to transform the health-care system."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2022.

The Canadian Press