A Very VALUABLE SERVICE

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A VERY VALUABLE SERVICE

INTRODUCTION

The Province of British Columbia has budgeted

$19.061 billion for Health in the current fiscal year,

2015/16.

Those expenditures represent 41.6 per cent of the

province’s total annual GAAP (generally accepted

accounting principles) budget.

Health outlays also are expected to continue to rise

in the foreseeable future, according to the province’s

three-year fiscal plan.

Next year, 2016/17, Health spending is forecast

at $19.556 billion, and will add up in 2017/18 to

$20.124 billion.

As a proportion of total budgeted expenditures,

Health is expected to reach an even 42.0 per cent

over the next two years.

By comparison, Education spending – for both K-12

and post-secondary – is projected to compose just

26.3 per cent of B.C.’s total GAAP budget, while

Social Services and Housing account for 8.5 per cent

of forecast outlays.

CHART 01 - Province of British Columbia,

Total GAAP and Health Expenditures, 2001/02 - 2017/18.

(Actual and budgeted, $millions)

$60,000

$50,000

$40,000

$30,000

$20,000

$10,000

Health, clearly, is a sizeable and significant portion

of the provincial government’s expenditures – and

responsibilities.

***

Yet, even as an ever-increasing amount of taxdollars

are allocated to Health, many British

Columbians remain without the services of a

regular medical doctor.

Indeed, Statistics Canada’s most-recent Canada

Community Health Survey found that as many as

839,000 British Columbians – more than 18 per cent

of the province’s total population – are without a

regular physician.

Both numbers are up sharply in recent years, even

though B.C. is training and recruiting more doctors

than ever before.

According to data published by the province’s

Medical Services Plan (MSP), the number of 'all

medical specialists' enrolled in the program in

B.C. over the last decade – from 2004/05 to

2013/14 – increased from nearly

8,300, to more than 10,100.

Over the same time-period, the

number of general practitioners

grew from 4,600 to almost 5,500.

It seems incongruous: at a time

when public-sector expenditures

on health are rising ever-higher,

and more physicians than ever

before are providing services,

how is it possible that an

increasing number of British

Columbians do not have regular

access to a physician?

$0

Total Expenditures

Health

(Source: British Columbia Financial and Economic Review, various years, Ministry of Finance,

Budget and Fiscal Plan, 2015/16 - 2017/18.)

It is evident that Health presents

numerous, ongoing challenges –

and not only for policy-makers

in Victoria, but also for the

professionals, administrators and

other health-workers employed

across our vast province.

WALK-IN CLINICS OF B.C.

1

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