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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

OLSEN -- It seems a bit trite to say this but, I think as the various parties get wound up in their discussions, it’s entirely possible to lose this point


** Note ... while today’s commentary from MLA Adam Olsen focuses primarily on the needs and concerns of his constituents, the issues he discusses are certainly being felt across the province


As we head into the Fall, I’ve been hearing from constituents, once again, about the healthcare challenges on the Saanich Peninsula. The challenges with the current system didn’t magically disappear over the summer and in fact there have been some tragic cases presented to me that are a result of the ongoing struggle people are having with primary care delivery.

Accessing services is very difficult!

While the province negotiates agreements for a new model of service delivery focusing on team-based care, they are trying to balance a number of interests. In many cases they are competing interests. To be fair, they need to ensure that they find a way to balance the impact of change. As we know, change is difficult and when it impacts multiple interest groups, as it is in this case, it can easily become stuck.


As a Member of the Legislative Assembly I represent people from all the interest groups, and I’ve patiently worked my way through the system to try to understand their position now -- and how they got here. These are really complex and well-established relationships and systems that need to change. There are a lot of people invested in the current model of healthcare delivery, so it’s important to be patient and compassionate.

With the increasing volume of stories from my constituents who are being negatively impacted, by the shortage of primary care, it’s important to re-centre this negotiation.

Patient centred primary care ... at the centre of healthcare is the patient.

The entire business of delivering health services is not necessary without them. It seems a bit trite to say this, but I think as the various parties get wound up in their discussions it’s entirely possible to lose this point. The Minister of Health (Adrian Dix) has his priority, healthcare providers have their priority, the patient has their priority and so on.

Let’s not forget the focus of this process is to improve the outcomes of the delivery of primary care services. So, I will repeat this: the system should put the patient at the centre.

The relationship between patient and healthcare provider is one of the most intimate relationships in our society. Nobody knows more about your body. When there is a lack of choice, or visits are harried and restricted to 10-15 minutes, people do not feel well served.

This is the system we have created. It has evolved over time and those with vested interests have reinforced their position. The system of remuneration has produced the outcomes that we now all agree needs to be improved.

I will continue to work through these challenges with all the parties involved. And, I will remain laser-focussed on keeping the perspective that it is the patient we are serving as we work through the difficult challenges of balancing all the other interests.


Adam Olsen ... is a Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Saanich North and the Islands. Born in Victoria, BC in 1976, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula. He is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (W̱JOȽEȽP), where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.

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