Thank You For Participating
In September 2006, the provincial government launched the Conversation on Health, the largest and most wide-ranging public discussion on health and our public health care system ever held in the history of our province. We asked British Columbians to take an active role in the discussion and help shape the future of our public health system.

On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, I would like to convey my sincere thanks to every British Columbian who participated in the Conversation on Health. Through your participation you have helped to contribute to a stronger health care system and a healthier British Columbia.

British Columbians are passionate about healthy living and our world class public health care system. They debated these issues in forums across the province, and debated them vigorously. The ideas and suggestions brought forward are thoughtful and articulate. At many forums we heard similar thoughts on how to improve our public health system. We also heard unique, innovative ideas that give pause for thought on how they can improve our system.

British Columbians told us they believe in:
  • A strong and sustainable public health care system that delivers services to all British Columbians regardless of where they live, their incomes or their backgrounds and cultures;
  • More supports to promote greater responsibility for their own health and well-being, through sound health promotion and disease prevention and commitment to a healthy society and environment. These would provide them with the tools to stay healthy and manage their own and their families’ illnesses when they must;
  • An accessible system of care where health professionals and facilities offer choices and collaborate to provide integrated services; and,
  • An accountable and transparent system of care, where the patient comes first and where performance is measured against quality care, healthy populations and improved patient outcomes.
These themes represent some of the common views that emerged from the Conversation of Health. I encourage everyone to read the document and the summaries posted on the Conversation on Health web site, to understand the depth and scope of the many thousands of ideas put forth.

British Columbians are in agreement that change is needed to renew our public health system, but there are many opinions on what changes are needed and how soon those changes need to be made.

The input from British Columbians will guide us on healthy living initiatives, building upon the success of ActNow BC. Recommendations have been made in this document to strengthen the health of British Columbians through more disease prevention and health promotion activities. This was a common theme throughout the Conversation on Health as participants talked about moving from sick care to health care: keeping us healthy instead of focusing on treating us when we are sick.

British Columbians told us their thoughts on the health care delivery system and how we can make it run more efficiently and effectively by strengthening the principles of the Canada Health Act. They also gave us their thoughts on adding a sixth principle, sustainability. Innovation and implementing best practices were also common themes throughout the Conversation on Health.

Strengthening and expanding our health care workforce are key not only to health professionals but to all British Columbians. British Columbians and health professionals in the Conversation on Health talked about their workplaces, and their extraordinarily high commitment to the public good. Participants wanted us to think about integration of health care professionals and making full use of all of their training. We are proud of our health care professionals and we want to make sure that they are satisfied with their jobs while the people of British Columbia benefit from their training by having the best health care in the world.

All ideas received through the Conversation will be reviewed for possible implementation in relation to the Canada Health Act and the principles of sustainability, accountability and improved patient outcomes, to help determine which recommendations will best strengthen and sustain the health system in the future. We will be reviewing this summary of input with great deal of interest and will be bringing forward our ideas and actions beginning in Spring 2008.

George Abbott
Minister of Health

Milestones in Public Health Care