End of July Update
Healthcare is top of mind for lots of British Columbians right now - and it is for our government too. Next week, Premier Horgan is chairing a meeting with premiers from across Canada, with a focus on working together to finalize a new health care funding agreement with the federal government. Public health care began as a 50/50 partnership, but now Ottawa covers just 22%. While we take action here in BC, we need the federal government to respond to the urgent need for significant, long-term funding increase. While our premier is leading the fight for Ottawa to pay its fair share, the previous government welcomed the federal cuts that cost British Columbians billions in health funding.
Since forming government, we’ve made record investments in healthcare and this week we reached two milestones that highlight how we are working to make up for almost two decades of funding cuts by previous governments that left huge gaps in our healthcare.
We announced that people in the Tri-Cities area will have access to better emergency care with the full completion of the emergency department expansion work at the Eagle Ridge Hospital. The project involved upgrades to the old emergency department area and expanding to build additional space. All in all, the new space is approximately three times larger and has double the spaces it previously did. This was a needed expansion - since Eagle Ridge Hospital opened in 1984, the hospital’s emergency department has more than doubled from 20,000 patients seeking emergency care to approximately 50,000 patients per year.
We also issued the request for proposals for the new hospital and BC Cancer Centre in Surrey. This means we are closer to seeing what the new state-of-the art hospital will look like, with construction expected to start next summer. Surrey’s population has significantly increased in the last couple of decades and there’s no doubt the community deserves this new hospital that will increase local healthcare capacity. It was devastating when the previous government sold the land to build a second hospital in Surrey, but this milestone shows how we are making progress to provide people with the quality healthcare they need and rely on.
A strong healthcare system is one that meets the needs of communities and plans for the future. Addressing these issues has been a priority for our government since 2017 and we are committed to building a healthcare system that British Columbians can count on.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about a provincial issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you.
Yours in community,