Happy New Year from all of us at SWITCH BC!

News and Media Centre  SWITCH BC News  

I am looking forward to 2023 with hope and cautious optimism. We are saying goodbye to yet another year when the COVID-19 pandemic took a disproportionate toll on health care teams. It’s the admiration and awe I have for the tremendous work done by the hard working, caring people in the healthcare system that helps carry my hope for the future.

There are signals of stability ahead in the sector with the signing of labour agreements between the Province and some of B.C.’s largest healthcare unions and the inking of a new contract with physicians (Physicians Masters Agreement).

The Ministry of Health has started to implement the B.C. Health Human Resource Strategy to support and increase the number of people providing care across the province. The actions are many, including increased protection for workers, increased access to training, recognizing international credentials, and scaling up virtual care.

Violence in healthcare – a problem few people are aware of the magnitude of – is getting much-needed attention. SWITCH BC is beginning the work of updating the Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum. The program we are designing, with input from unions, employers, and physicians, will be tailored to specific kinds of healthcare work environments and will be built using trauma-informed principles and with a lens that is culturally safe. The training will be real to life for our teams and based on best and promising practice. Everyone working in health care has the right to be safe and healthy on the job and to return home safely to family and friends. Improved training will help support safety across the healthcare system and we invite you to have Your Say by sharing your ideas and feedback on the training update.

We will also be listening to health care teams in 2023 – traveling around the province and meeting with people to hear about their experiences over the last few years. We will be listening to acknowledge the multiple sacrifices our teams have made, and continue to make, in support of providing care, and to spark healing, hope, and system renewal. We can’t keep asking people to do their best when the system around them doesn’t always support quality care and safety. These conversations will inform all the work we do because we know that the best solutions are ones that are informed by the people doing the work.

I recognize that our healthcare challenges can feel overwhelming and that we have a lot to do in 2023 to create safe work environments where people can thrive. I know that we are also up to the challenge – because I know the amazing things the people who work daily in the healthcare system of capable of. We will tackle these challenges together. We do so knowing there is so much to be proud of in the passion and ingenuity and dedication of our health care workers. Health care teams continue to save and improve the lives of British Columbians every day.

We see your dedication and compassionate care, and we thank you.

Victoria Schmid