I’d like to respond to the many inaccuracies and misinformation in the letter ‘Minister for seniors taken to task.’
In 2010, a $7.2 million addition was opened at Fischer Place/Mill Site Lodge with 14 new residential care beds as part of a 29-bed expansion. Funding was shared by our government, Interior Health and the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District, with funds raised by local residents to purchase equipment. Government, along with Interior Health, is monitoring the need for residential care in the region.
As for Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake, our government is committed to providing safe, quality patient care. The Ministry of Health and Interior Health are aware of the physical and functional deficiencies at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.
Now that the Master Plan has been completed, Interior Health can take the next step in developing more detailed proposals for capital projects to upgrade the facility. These proposals will be considered by the ministry in the context of capital priorities for Interior Health as well as capital project priorities province-wide.
With regards to prescription drugs costs, B.C. has also shown its commitment to lower generic drug prices with the passing this year of the Pharmaceutical Services Act, which allows the government to lower prices of all generic drugs in the province. Health ministers across Canada are also working together to adopt a national competitive bidding process for more internationally comparable prices.
As for Age-friendly Communities, our government just announced $500,000 in additional funding for 2013 to support seniors at the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention. This program offers local governments grants up to $20,000 to create environments for seniors to be active and healthy. I encourage local governments to apply to UBCM for a grant.
As a senior I know, appreciate and respect the many contributions they have made and continue to provide to our province.
Minister of State for Seniors