Kelowna-Lake Country MLA to continue looking for health care solutions

Despite leaving the provincial committee looking for ways to fund health care in future, Norm Letnick says he's still involved.

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick may not sit on the province’s Select Standing Committee On Health anymore but that’s not stoping him from gathering information for the committee’s next report.

Letnick, who had to drop his chairmanship of the committee when he was named agriculture minister earlier this year, said Thursday as an MLA, healthcare continues to be important to him. For that reason, he plans to keep researching and talking to constituents to gather information and ideas so when the committee is ready to accept the next round of input from the public, he will have ideas to share.

“My job is the same as every other British Columbian’s,” he said. “When the committee is ready for our input, we need to provide it.”

The Standing Select Committee on Health was brought back to life by Premier Christie Clark in 2011, when Letnick was named as its chairman, to look at how B.C.’s health care system will handle the expected demands from an aging population over the next 25 years, particularly Baby Boomers who now starting to retire.

The first phase of the committees work was to look at the demographic shift that will occur over the next 25 years. A report on that phase was issued late last month by the committee—which includes MLA members from both the Liberals and the NDP.

The next phase of the committee’s mandate is to look at ways to mitigate the impact of the coming wave of “boomers” on the system.

For the local MLA, a focus on health care and how it will be paid for is personal. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in health economics from UBC.

Letnick said because the issue is so important to the province’s future—both from a societal and financial perspective—it’s important all British Columbians have a say on the issue.

He points to government spending on health care facilities here and in Vernon in the last five years, saying close to $1 billion has been provided for Kelowna General Hospital and Vernon’s Jubilee Hospital.

In Kelowna, a new six-story tower, complete with upgrades to several departments has been built, as well as a new clinical support building, a medical school campus building and other hospital infrastructure.

KGH is currently getting ready for the start of construction of the new $364 million Interior Heart  and Surgical Centre, that will make Kelowna the fifth full cardiac care centre in the province and the first in the B.C. Interior.

Letnick said he feels the work of the standing committee will likely not be wrapped up before the next provincial election and it will likely need to be reconstituted by whichever party wins the next B.C. election in May 2013.

In the meantime, while agricultural issues obviously take up much of his time, Letnick said he plans to continue talking to constituents about health care, write his monthly columns on health care and host public meetings on health issues. The next meeting is expected to be on heart disease and will be held in January, he said.



Just Posted

Reel Reviews: A cure for anger

We say, “Purge it up, goofballs.”

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

Carr’s Landing Art Tour showcases local talent

14th annual tour in Lake Country July 28-29 and Aug. 4-5

The Okanagan Croatian Club all smiles after World Cup loss

They say winning second place brought Croatia to the world stage

East Shuswap Road wildfire’s fire line being controlled

Firefighters saved an eagle’s nest and eaglets while controlling fire lines

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Course veterans seize victory in Peach City Classic

The first place titles in this year’s triathlon belonged to returning competitors.

Vernon writers launch online workshop for teens, young adults

Storymakers’ Raise Your Voice workshop seeks to help women writers uncover and use voice

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Your reviews: John Fogerty rocks the South Okanagan

Photos and reviews from fans in Penticton at John Fogerty’s concert in the SOEC

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Most Read