B.C. auditor wants home and community care improvements

Reducing the need for higher intensity and for more costly services

Vancouver (4 Nov. 2008) - The latest report by B.C. Auditor General John Doyle provides a list of recommendations to improve planning for home and community care programs.

"Ministry of Health Services is not adequately fulfilling its stewardship role in helping to ensure that the home and community care system has the capacity to meet the needs of the population," the report says.

"Although the ministry has taken some action, timely completion of these steps is required to prepare the system for the future."

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) says the report calls for many of the reforms the union has proposed, especially those dealing with expanded home and community care services, investment in information technologies and better care for chronic health conditions.

Many of the proposals set out in the National Union's steps for better - faster care series are reflected in the auditor's recommendations.

The report also notes the need for a more detailed health human resources strategy for the sector. "The ministry must work with the health authorities to ensure that the right types of services, the right number of appropriately equipped units or beds, and an adequate supply of qualified care-givers and health care professionals are all in place to meet the needs of the aging population and others who use the system," it says.

In his report, Doyle underlines the importance of these services to people and the benefits they provide to the broader health care system.

"Having the right service at the right time and in the right location supports improvements in health outcomes while providing needed respite services for the friends and families who provide voluntary care giving," he writes. "Home and community care services delivered when required can also reduce the need for higher intensity and more costly services."

His report notes that the provincial government has made some attempts at improvements in the sector but he says much more needs to be done. He makes eight recommendations for better planning in home and community care services.  NUPGE

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Web posted by NUPGE: 4 November 2008