B.C. will invest $6.4 billion in new health-care spending over the next three years, including a $1 billion boost in mental health and addictions funding and a first-in-Canada free prescription contraception program, as part of the provincial budget released Tuesday.
It also includes expansion of the model of complex mental-health and substance-use care at the 105-bed Red Fish Healing Centre in Coquitlam — on the site of the old Riverview Hospital — to other regions of the province. Those locations have yet to be decided. “The ministry is working on that as we speak,” said Conroy.
There are currently about 3,000 substance use beds in the province. Morris said he hopes the 190 new beds will be implemented quickly. The toxic drug crisis kills six people a day in B.C. The Health Ministry budget will increase from $28.7 billion in 2023-24 to $29.9 billion in 2024-25 and $30.7 billion in 2025-26.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario are working toward taking the same step, but B.C. is the first so far, said Phelps Bondaroff. By preventing abortions and unwanted pregnancies, the program will lead to better health outcomes for mothers and infants, more equity in the health-care system, and lower health-care costs, he said.
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