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B.C. moves towards overhaul of how health professions are regulated

Click to play video 'B.C. health minister announces overhaul of health-care regulation' B.C. health minister announces overhaul of health-care regulation
B.C. health minister announces overhaul of health-care regulation

An all-party steering committee has made its final report on how to overhaul the way B.C.’s health-care workers are regulated.

“This helps bring health professional regulation into the 21st century,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix, Thursday.

Read more: Steering committee suggests overhaul of health professional regulatory system

The proposal still requires approval of cabinet and the legislature.

The most significant change would see the province’s 20 regulatory colleges — covering professions such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and massage therapists — reduced to six.

The changes would also create a new oversight body tasked with setting standards across colleges and acting as a disciplinary authority.

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“They’re going to be auditing the colleges, they’re going to be providing public reporting on the performance of the colleges, and they’re going to be overseeing the competency based appointment process for the board members,” said BC Liberal health critic and steering committee member Norm Letnick.

Click to play video 'NDP government announces major shakeup of health care system' NDP government announces major shakeup of health care system
NDP government announces major shakeup of health care system

 

The province would also change the way colleges are governed, said Dix.

There would no longer be elections to college boards, whose members would instead be appointed through a competency based process, with an equal public and professional membership.

The province is also aiming to improve transparency in health professional regulation, by making more complaint and disciplinary information available to the public.

Read more: B.C. health minister gives dental college 30 days to deliver transparency plan

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“A very significant percentage of contrary decisions, whether they be by consent agreement or decision of health professional colleges are (currently) not made public,” said Dix.

“Under our vision, it is such that all such decisions would be made public in the future.”

Cultural safety will be at the heart of all actions of the reformed colleges, Dix added.

Some of the changes, including the amalgamation of colleges, can begin immediately, Dix said, while others will require legislative changes.

Read more: Doctors of B.C. speak out against naturopaths making false claims about vaccinations

The overhaul process came after the NDP government ordered a review into the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia in 2018, which widened to include a broader review of all health professional regulation.

Last November, the committee recommended cutting the colleges down to five, but after hearing feedback from stakeholders settled on the new proposal of six.