COLUMN: Health care in Saanich North and the Islands

MLA Adam Olsen hosting two meetings on health care this month

MLA Adam Olsen. (BC Green Party)

Since my election last May, many of our meetings in the constituency office have been about health and well being. Several important issues have been raised from people and organizations delivering health services in our riding as well as from people who wanted to share their personal experiences with our health system.

We quickly realized we needed to have a bigger discussion and focus more of our attention on health care in Saanich North and the Islands.

I felt it was important to learn more about the system serving our riding and how we can improve it.

To that end, we have devoted a lot of time and energy in the first month of 2018 to health care.

We started by bringing over 80 health care service providers together on Salt Spring Island and in Sidney to hear the challenges and some of the opportunities we might consider.

My intent of these meetings was twofold: to become better informed and to build/strengthen community networks.

Despite the complexity of the system and the significant list of obstacles, it is exciting to be able to connect people and uncover the solutions that are right at our fingertips. We assume that health care providers all know each other, but that is not true.

So, getting people in the same room is a powerful place to start and I am thankful that so many health providers took time out of their schedule to participate.

As someone who does not come from the health care system, I have a lot to learn. The focus this month has helped me understand the system, the people, the challenges and opportunities and I am now confident that although there are key differences between the Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands, the top challenges across the riding are largely the same: primary care (family doctors and community clinics), mental health, elder and youth care. Not surprisingly, housing was a huge concern in all parts of the riding. A person’s housing security goes a long way in determining their physical and mental well being.

Healthy homes, healthy people.

A key takeaway from the meetings was that there is enough money in our system already, it just needs to be spent more efficiently. Clearly, health professionals need to be part of fixing the problems.

Interestingly, nearly all of the discussion focused on helping illness. Clearly this is the focus of our current system. We need to do a much better job at focusing on wellness and prevention. Redesigning our system to ensure people are well, will free up resources to better help those who are ill.

To continue the health care discussion, we are inviting the public to participate in a community dialogue on health care on January 20 at our constituency office where they can share their experiences and ideas of how the system can be improved.

Last, on January 24, I am hosting Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, to a public Town Hall at the St. Paul’s United Church in Sidney. This is an excellent opportunity to hear from Minister Dix and ask him directly about health care in BC. Visit my website http://adamolsen.ca/ for more information. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events.

Adam Olsen is the BC Green Party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

Just Posted

Greater Victoria businesses lose thousands of dollars in credit card scams

Affected businesses want to spread the word to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read