Strengthening health care

We’re taking action to strengthen public health care so you and your family can get the care you need, when and where you need it.

We are tackling big challenges to deliver better health care. That means matching more families with more doctors, getting patients in for surgery and cancer treatment faster, building hospitals and clinics closer to home, and providing the tools you need to stay healthier longer. 

Find out how we’re taking action for you.

Budget 2024 – Taking action for you

Delivering cancer care people can count on

Improving access to IVF for people wanting to start a family 

Expanding access to mental health and addictions care

Connect to care now

See a pharmacist for treatment now

Get your minor illnesses – like pink eye, rashes, sprains and UTIs – checked and treated, renew your prescriptions, and get free birth control at a pharmacy.

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Get health advice 24/7

Call HealthLink BC at 811 or use the online symptom checker to get medical advice or help finding health information and services.

Find a doctor or nurse

Sign up to be matched with a family doctor or nurse practitioner near you.

Improving access to health care

We’re making it faster and easier for you to get the care you need by providing more treatment options, connecting families to doctors, and reducing wait times.

Two friends enjoying a conversation over coffee in a cozy cafe

Detecting cervical cancer sooner with cervix self-screening tests

People with a cervix will be able to screen for cancer-causing infections with a new HPV test that is more accurate and more convenient. The test is easy to do at home. It can detect cervical cancer sooner and better than a Pap test. Anyone with a cervix ages 25-69, who hasn’t had a Pap test in the last three years or an HPV test in the last five years, can order a kit to complete wherever they feel most comfortable.

Expanding pharmacist care to treat minor ailments and prescribe birth control

People in B.C. can now get assessed and treated at most pharmacies for 21 minor ailments and contraceptives. You can also book an appointment to see a pharmacist online. Your visit may include a prescription, advice for self-care or recommendation to see another health care provider for further advice.

Connecting patients to doctors and nurse practitioners

People in B.C. with a personal health number can now join the Health Connect Registry to help you and your family find a primary care provider in your community. Once you are signed up, the registry can help match you with a family doctor or nurse practitioner near you, as providers become available.

Two young adults sit and talk holding a flyer. One wears all black with ripped jeans, a silver chain, and backwards cap. The other is a masculine-presenting person wearing a white t-shirt and pins of the transgender and 2SLGBTQ+ flags.

Helping more young people access peer support

Foundry BC’s peer support gives youth aged 12-24 the chance to connect online or in-person with another young person who’s there to listen.

A doctor sits with a patient in a daylight-filled room. They both wear medical masks and appear to be in conversation.

Reducing surgical wait times

Reducing wait times for surgeries, increasing availability of MRI’s and cancer screening services, and providing faster results. This means people will get the care and treatment they need, quickly.

Saving you money

Money should not be a barrier to getting health care. That is why we’re eliminating or lowering costs to save you money.

The hand of a pharmacist is seen pulling a box of medication from the shelf.

Providing free birth control at pharmacies

Birth control pills, implants, injections and emergency contraceptives are now free for B.C. residents. You don’t need a prescription from a doctor. Speak to your pharmacist.

Reducing travel costs for cancer care

Travel and hotel costs for patients who need to travel for cancer treatments will be covered for people who need it most.

Eliminating Medical Service Plan premiums

B.C. residents no longer pay annual MSP premiums for basic health care benefits. Individuals save $900 and families save $1,800 a year.

Expanding mental health supports

People have been dealing with a lot over the last few years. We’re rising to new challenges to make sure people get the help and care they need.

Intervening early

Helping people access care soon by increasing support in schools, expanding youth Foundry Centres, providing free or low-cost community counselling, and supporting parents and caregivers.

Reducing risk of illicit toxic drugs

Saving lives by connecting people to the care they need, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

Connecting people to care

Expanding treatment options and opening more treatment and recovery beds across the province so people can get the care they need closer to home.

Supporting ongoing wellness and recovery

Creating pathways to recovery so people can build community connections, resiliency, wellness, life-skills programming and relapse prevention.

Growing our health care workforce

We’re taking action to recruit, train and retain more health care professionals across the province so you can get better care and workers are better supported.

Growing the allied health workforce to improve patient care

The new Allied Health Strategic Plan will help grow the allied health workforce so people can get the care they need, when they need it. It includes more than 70 disciplines vital to the team-based care people rely on, such as getting a blood sample collected by a medical laboratory assistant, seeing a physiotherapist after surgery, or talking about mental health and community supports with a social worker.

Helping people get emergency care faster

When people go to the emergency department they need prompt access to care. We’re working to help people get the emergency care they need faster. We’re taking steps to add the role of physician assistants to the healthcare team in B.C. It is an important next step in the actions we’re taking to retain, recruit and train health-care workers so people in B.C. can get the health care they need.

A doctor in a med jacket stands at the end of a table talking to a group of young doctors in blue scrubs.

Hiring, training and keeping more health-care workers

Funding to help recruit and retain staff, redesign and rebalance workloads, make health-care spaces more culturally safe, and expand training and education seats for a full range of health-care professionals.

Two young Asian women are seen laughing together on a sofa. One holds her hands on the other's pregnant belly, while she has a stethoscope on her lap.

Training more midwives

Demand for midwives has increased rapidly in B.C. Increasing the number of midwife seats at UBC means more access to pregnancy care, especially in rural, remote & First Nations communities.

A doctor smiles at her patient, a young boy.

Establishing new physician payment model improves care for patients

The new payment model will bring more doctors into family practice and allow them to see and spend more time with patients.

A young nurse stands behind a Black woman who is seated. They are touching hands and smiling at each other.

Helping more nurses practice in B.C., faster

Too many barriers have prevented many nurses from entering or returning to work in the health care system. Removing these obstacles means more nurses can work in the field they love, and people in B.C. can get better access to the health care they deserve.

A group of medical students sit at a table writing and smiling.

Opening a new B.C. medical school

Establishing a new medical school at SFU will allow B.C. to attract and train more future doctors to work in the health-care system.

Two young doctors look at a chart while walking down the hall past another group of doctors talking to each other.

Training more doctors

Making sure B.C. has more family doctors and specialists in the long-term by increasing spots for future doctors at UBC Faculty of Medicine.

A group of doctors in blue scrubs, two wearing medical jackets, smile at the camera. Four appear to be younger while one is middle-aged.

Getting more internationally trained family doctors working sooner

Supporting three times more family physicians trained outside of Canada to work in B.C.’s health-care system, faster, and creating a new associate physician role to provide immediate solutions for people accessing health-care services.

A doctor smiles at her patient, a toddler wearing a yellow shirt who sits in their mother's lap, while a person in scrubs stands in the background.

Training more health care workers on the job

Providing the next generation of health care workers support to learn and earn at the same time. This means more people get access to health care, while workers grow their careers.

A young man with dark brown skin smiles and hugs his classmate with long red-brown hair. They are wearing graduation robes and hats, and he holds his diploma in one hand.

Providing free education to become a health care assistant

Tuition support for students in high-priority health care fields helps build a future workforce, while allowing more students to start their careers with less debt.

A doctor smiles at a young girl sitting with her mother.

Developing a pool of travel-ready nurses

A team of nurses who can travel into rural/remote communities means people can get access to health care without travelling long distances.

Building better health care

We’re helping you get the care you need closer to home by opening more treatment beds and building more hospitals, health clinics and long-term care centres.

Building a new hospital and cancer centre in Surrey

People in B.C. will benefit from a new, digitally equipped smart hospital and cancer centre in Surrey. The new hospital will deliver a second emergency department in the community and will include a new location of the BC Cancer Centre. The new Surrey hospital will enhance health-care services for British Columbians and improve care for people facing cancer.

A caretaker and older adult laughing together. The older adult sits in a chair while the caretaker sits on the armrest.

Adding more long-term care in B.C.

As people age, their health needs change. Everyone in B.C. deserves to have access to that care when and where they need it. We’re investing in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living services throughout B.C.

Two people sit next to each other in white chairs against a white wall background. The man on the left is slouching while looking at the woman on the right who holds a clipboard.

Expanding mental-health and addiction treatment services

To support people struggling with addiction, more than $586 million will add treatment and recovery beds throughout B.C., develop and roll out a new model of care to support people through their entire recovery journey, create wraparound supports, expand Indigenous treatment centres and develop new recovery communities to support people and their recovery through the long term.

A distance shot of the Main Entrance of a building with trees on pavilions in front. Above the doors are the 3D words "Main Entrance."

Investing in hospitals, clinics and post-secondary institutions

Investing in new clinics, long-term care beds and hospitals throughout the province. This means improved and increased access to health services for people all around the province.

Hospital executive staff are seen cutting a ribbon in the reception area of a Vancouver Coastal Health hospital. the wall reads "Northeast Urgent and Primary Care Centre".

Building the health care systems people need now

New primary care networks and Urgent and Primary Care Centres throughout B.C. are helping connect people to the primary care they need in their communities, while taking pressure off of walk-in clinics and emergency rooms.

Keeping people healthy

We’re providing tools so you can take action to prevent injuries and illnesses to live a longer, healthier life.

Protecting people and communities this respiratory illness season

B.C. is taking actions to continue protecting people, communities and the health-care system and are encouraging people in B.C. aged six months and older to get their COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.

Protecting seniors from elder abuse

Seniors often face isolation, which makes them more vulnerable to abuse. That’s why helping people recognize the signs of elder abuse and prevent the distress it causes our seniors across the province is a top priority.

Building healthier, more active communities

The PlanH program supports local and Indigenous governments to create healthier communities through resources, practices and learning opportunities that focus on people, society and the environment.

Expanding newborn screening; early detection improves quality of life

Newborns throughout B.C. are being screened for three additional metabolic and genetic conditions, resulting in early identification and treatment, and leading to improved health outcomes.

Protecting people during extreme heat emergencies

Extreme heat emergencies can cause major health challenges for many people in B.C. Free air conditioning units for vulnerable and low-income people, as well as new air conditioner rebates for all residential BC Hydro customers, means more people can stay cool during extreme heat events.

Harvesting healthy habits with Farmers’ market coupon program

All people in B.C. deserve to have access to fresh, nutritious food, and farmers’ markets are a great place to find them. This program is helping feed more people and bring more visitors to markets, which supports local farmers, enriches communities and supports our province’s food security.

Improving public health for everyone

We’re taking action to improve health care for you and your family by adopting new approaches and expanding on what works.

A young girl with long dark braids sits and smiles at a doctor.

Reforming the health care system to make it culturally safer

More equitable access to health care to improve health outcomes. This means better training and education, so we can build a culturally safer system of care for everyone in B.C.

An aerial view of a circle of people sitting in chairs, very close together. We mostly see knees and hands, and the backs of some heads as they all lean in.

Treating addiction as a health issue, not a crime

Saving lives by ending the stigma, isolation and fear of criminal charges that often prevents people who use drugs from reaching out for help and leads to people using alone.

Two men are seen from the back. One sits slumped over with the other man's arm around his shoulders.

Building paths to recovery for people struggling with substance use

Improved quality of care in treatment and recovery services for youth and adults. This means people experiencing mental-health and substance-use challenges will be able to better access the help they need, faster.

An Asian woman in scrubs wearing a stethoscope points to an Xray while talking to a patient. They are both wearing medical masks.

Taking action to better detect, treat and prevent cancers

Nearly everyone in B.C. has been touched by cancer at some point in their lives. Investing in better prevention strategies, earlier detection, faster treatment and team-based support services means that people in B.C. can get cancer care they can count on – where and when they need it.

Taking action to eliminate Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a curable disease with highly effective drug treatments available to people in British Columbia for free through BC Pharmacare.

Providing faster, team-based care with primary health care strategy

At the heart of the strategy is a new focus on team-based care that will see government fund and recruit more doctors, nurse practitioners and other health professionals, to put patients back at the centre of health-care delivery.

Addressing Indigenous racism in health care

Working to dismantle and eradicate Indigenous-specific racism to ensure people do not experience judgment, rejection, abuse or harm when receiving the health care they need.