New Democratic Party of British Columbia responses

Question 1:

According to the British Columbia Medical Association, healthcare is the number one issue for British Columbians. British Columbia has been recognized as providing some of the best care for cancer patients in Canada. What are you going to do to improve on this record and continue providing not just good care but good outcomes for cancer patients and survivors in the province?

Response:

Adrian Dix has been a proponent of timely treatment of cancer and has been particularly active proponent for early screening. Adrian personally launched a public service campaign to encourage British Columbians between the ages of 50-74 to talk to their primary care provider about getting tested for colorectal cancer. As a reaction to that the BC Liberals began a province-wide colorectal cancer screening, a program that will undoubtedly save thousands of lives.

Adrian Dix and the BC NDP government will improve public health care for British Columbians.

Emphasizing a better use of health dollars, we will invest in prevention, and in additional health supports such as nurse practitioners, midwives and rehabilitation professionals.

The BC NDP will also invest in innovation, incorporate cost-saving technologies, and learn from best practices in Canada and around the world. We will build partnerships to leverage the opportunities that come from BC being home to a vital and growing life sciences and health research sector.

These steps will help control costs and improve care. By strengthening alternative levels of care, they will help take the pressure off acute care ERs and reduce waitlists. They support quality public health care, one of the strongest expressions of British Columbians’ shared commitment to a fair and compassionate society.

Those steps include improving care for seniors, people with disabilities and people with chronic conditions, improvements in front-line mental health care, particularly for children, and increasing access to primary care services, particularly in rural areas.

Question 2:

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research in 2012 that showed one in ten Canadians report they skip doses or decide not to fill prescriptions because of cost, with the highest incidence of cost non adherence happening in BC.[1] If elected to government, what will you do to make prescription medications more affordable?

Response:

The BC NDP knows that the cost of prescription drugs continues to grow. We will work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

A BC NDP will:

Expand BC’s low cost drug program.
Restore the Therapeutic Initiative’s role as BC’s drug watchdog and make its expertise available to private drug plans, clinicians and consumers.
Expand province-wide academic detailing to ensure prescribers are informed about the most appropriate drug use, and provide physicians with timely expert feedback on their prescribing patterns and trends.

Question 3:

A key element of ensuring timely treatment for a cancer patient is ensuring they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in British Columbia. If elected to government, will you commit to ensuring that all cancer patients in British Columbia receive timely access to medications at the time they need it?

Response:

The BC NDP believe cancer patients should have timely access to medications. We are committed to improving access to health care services via expanded home support and multi-disciplinary health care teams through community clinics. If the BC NDP forms the next government, we would look forward to meeting with you to discuss this issue in further detail.

Question 4:

BC’s PharmaCare Prosthetic and Orthotic Program currently provides some reimbursement for medical devices to treat lymphedema, up to $150 for ready-made compression garments and up to $300 for custom-made garments.[2] However, this is limited to use for the upper body. If elected to government, will you commit to extending current levels of reimbursement for lymphedema treatment so that funding for compression garments is available, regardless of the underlying cause or location of lymphedema?

Response:

The BC NDP has not considered the issue of extending reimbursement levels for lymphedema treatment. The BC NDP would be glad to meet with you after the election to discuss this issue.

For details on the NDP’s plan to improve public health care, please read our platform, Change for the Better: Practical Steps, which you can access here.

Jane Shin, Burnaby-Lougheed
Selina Robinson, Coquitlam-Maillardville