Opinion: B.C.'s health authorities at 15: Big change pays off

It was 15 years ago, on Dec. 12, that B.C.’s then-health planning minister Sindi Hawkins announced a sweeping change in the delivery of patient care in the province.

“A simpler, more accountable structure for delivering health services,” she said. In a single, bold move, the provincial government eliminated B.C.’s existing 52 health authorities and created one provincial and five regional health authorities to oversee delivery of health services. Hawkins noted that the previous governance model was one of the most complicated, expensive and ineffectually managed health systems in the country.

In Vancouver Coastal Health, the move brought together 14 aboriginal communities, four regional districts, and 12 municipalities — including Vancouver, Richmond, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. Some changes over the 15 years are obvious. The redevelopment of Lions Gate and Richmond hospitals. The Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre, and Blusson Pavilion for spinal research at Vancouver General Hospital. The new Richmond Community Care Clinic and replacement of Richmond Lions Manor. Upgrades to Powell River and Sechelt hospitals. The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health and — still to come — the Segal Wellness Centre at VGH, and a brand new St. Paul’s Hospital.

Kip Woodward writes

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