Summary on the Health Sciences Association Conference – April 2018

August 27, 2019

Ed Staples

Summary on the Health Sciences Association Conference – April 2018

Edward Staples
President of SOHC (Support Our Health Care) and
BC Rural Health Network Lead.

Vancouver Hyatt Regency April 13, 2018

Achieving High-Performing Primary and Community Care: the Critical Role of Health Science Professions

The conference opened with a welcome from Val Avery, Health Sciences Association (HSA) President and a First Nations Welcome from Coast Salish Elder Roberta Price.

The keynote speaker was the Honourable Judy Darcy, BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. She gave a brief overview of her first 9 months in office and made the following points:

Judy Darcy

• collaboration and team building on the “front lines” is critically important to address the opioid crisis

• addressing the crisis will require “all hands on deck”

• the focus of the Ministry is on child and youth prevention, First Nations, and the high rate of death associated with substance use

▪ most people who die from opioid overdose die alone

▪ 3 out of 4 are male between the age of 30 and 59

▪ 1 in 10 are indigenous

• problems with the current system:

• “no coordination of services”

• gaps in the service – fragmentation  lack of a team approach

• the goal is to develop an “ask once” system that will take you where you need to go

• addressing the problem by building a better system; funding for:

• training

• naloxone dispersal

• establishing overdose prevention sites

• establishing designated teams in each Health Authority

• recognizing that parents are often the “first responders”

• province wide coverage by “robust, interdisciplinary teams”

• addressing the social determinants of health

• making connections

Minister Darcy closed her remarks by recognizing the valuable work being done by the HSA and asked for advice and direction from HSA members on how to “close the gaps”. Read more »

How these Canadians got hooked on opioids

August 20, 2019

This is the first story in a four-part series about the pharmaceutical industry and the hold it has on Canada’s health-care system — swaying doctors’ opinions, funding medical schools and, ultimately, affecting the type of drugs we are prescribed.

Steve Angst’s 11-year opioid addiction started with a workplace injury.

Angst was working at a Cami Automotive assembly plant in Ontario when he injured his right shoulder in 1991. The 56-year-old, then 28, needed reconstructive surgery.

After working on his shoulder, doctors prescribed Demerol to help with the pain. A few years later, in 1993, Angst needed more surgery to repair damage resulting from a fall. Then in 1996, he needed another operation on his left shoulder.

He went to his doctor for the pain — working at the plant required repetitive motion — and was prescribed Percocet. From there, his troubles with opioids got out of control.

“I got to the point where I couldn’t do anything unless I took a Percocet,” he said.

“And then, of course, the Percocet didn’t work anymore, so I go to the doctor and they just prescribe more Percocet.”



Health policy expert testifies in defence of public health care in Cambie case

July 11, 2019

The BC Health Coalition is an intervenor in the Dr. Brian Day and Cambie Surgeries court case. Following is a recap of what they have been up to, both inside and outside the courtroom.

SOHC is a member of the BCHC and we are following this case closely.


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1. Health policy expert testifies in defence of public health care in Cambie case

Public health expert Dr. David Himmelstein, M.D. took the stand in the Cambie case to offer a comparative analysis of the US and Canadian health care systems.  Dr. Himmelstein, the second expert witness brought by our intervenor group, is a well-respected health policy professor at City University of New York School of Public Health and lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Himmelstein has studied the impacts of for-profit healthcare and private insurance in the U.S. for decades.

Dr. Himmelstein’s evidence went to the heart of Cambie Surgeries’ central claims, and refuted the deceptions relied on by Cambie in an attempt to prove their case. He  testified to the overall societal costs to health care if Cambie Surgeries’ legal attack against the public health care system were to be successful. Dr. Himmelstein gave evidence on the dangers of introducing private insurance into single-payer health care systems such as Canada’s, and the risks of allowing for-profit healthcare organizations to operate.

2. BC Health Coalition experts debunk myth that private clinics and for-profit health care decrease wait times Read more »

Study in the South Okanagan Similkameen

June 24, 2019
We need your help with a study that collects information on the health and well-being needs of men in the South Okanagan Similkameen. The Principal Investigator is Nelly Oelke, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, UBCO.
Your views will be used to build a picture of men’s health needs and can help to improve services for men in your community.
There will be a one hour interview in a confidential space in your community by phone.
You will receive a $25 honorarium for your time.

Praise for Princeton Doctors and Hospital

June 20, 2019

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Letter to the editor

June 20, 2019


There once was a time, not too long ago, that this town only had two doctors. There was not enough medical staff to keep the emergency department of our hospital operational 24 hours a day.

Fortunately, that has changed, due to the actions of some dedicated community members working with Interior Health to implement a recruitment plan to attract more doctors to practice in Princeton.

We, the residents of Princeton and the surrounding area, have to be thankful and proud that we now have five doctors and excellent hospital service.

I recently spent three weeks in our hospital requiring extensive care for a very serious infection. I was most impressed with the care I received, knowing that there was always a doctor on duty or on call. Even the food was wonderful – never the same meal twice.

The compassion and friendliness of all the nurses and support staff was the absolute best and was certainly a great help in keeping up my morale.

I will be forever thankful to you all.

Chris Ross

Two Hearts and pulse

Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare – Recommendations

June 12, 2019

news release June 12 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BC Health Coalition urges all parties to adopt the Advisory Committee’s recommendations

Vancouver ­– The BC Health Coalition is celebrating the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare’s recommendation to create a universal public pharmacare program. 

“We’re pleased and unsurprised that the Advisory Council has recommended a system that ensures all Canadians get the healthcare coverage that they need,” says Adrienne Yeung, BC Health Coalition co-chair. “This report further confirms the findings of previous reports and what people in our communities already know which is that people shouldn’t have to choose between medication and other necessities.”

The Advisory Council’s recommendations included the creation of a new drug agency as well as an opt-in period for the provinces. The BCHC has advocated for a system that is publicly provided and comprehensive in medications offered. National universal pharmacare will provide the ability to negotiate better prices on common medications and improve public safety through better prescribing. 

“As Dr. Hoskins said, people are already bearing the costs of these medications,” says Yeung. “We will be looking for all federal political parties to include a national universal pharmacare plan in their platforms as well as the timeline for implementation. Canadians can’t wait any longer.”

The BC Health Coalition is a democratic, inclusive, and consensus-based community of individuals and organizations that advocate for evidence-based improvements to the public health care system, stimulate public education on health care issues, and drive positive change to the health care system through campaigns across the province.

For more information contact: phone: 604.349.9079 | email: |

The Advisory Committee’s final report: Read more »

Don’t buy pharma’s lies about a universal pharmacare program

May 9, 2019


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Times Colonist
MAY 9, 2019 12:53 AM

As universal pharmacare gets closer to reality for Canada, drug companies are ramping up their false rhetoric. They say a universal, public pharmacare plan would result in worse access to medicines, higher costs and less innovation in Canada. Don’t believe them.

Canada is the only high-income country with a universal, public health-care system that does not include universal, public coverage of prescription drugs. Instead, we have an incomplete patchwork of private and public drug-insurance plans financed and managed separately from our medicare system. That is insane.

Contrary to pharma’s claims, our private-public drug-insurance system performs worse than universal, public pharmacare systems in terms of access, costs and innovation. Here’s why:

The incomplete nature of our patchwork of drug plans leaves about one in five Canadians uninsured. As a result, about one in 10 Canadians skips prescriptions simply because of the out-of-pocket costs.
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Each year, nearly 400,000 Canadians use additional medical and hospital services — services we all pay for — because they skipped prescriptions owing to out-of-pocket costs. More than 300 Canadians die prematurely each year as a result.

That alone should make universal pharmacare a national priority — an emergency.

But there are even more problems with our private-public drug-insurance system. For example, our heavy reliance on work-related private drug plans places strains on Canadian businesses. Read more »


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SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here