B.C. spends little on preventative medicine, AG finds
Auditor General John Doyle says spending falling short of government's promises
B.C.'s auditor general says the province spends less than five per cent of its annual $15.5 billion health-care budget on population wellness and disease prevention — despite a healthy-living theme touted by the provincial government.
John Doyle's report highlights how little was spent on population health and wellness programs even though the well-being of British Columbians has been a major focus in every government throne speech since 2008.
Doyle's report says Health Ministry expenditures for promoting health and disease prevention was $536 million during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
His report says B.C. spends almost 40 per cent of its total budget on health care, with acute care costs reaching $7.4 billion annually.
The report isn't a traditional audit, but was designed to help the public and legislators understand where health-care dollars are being spent.
Doyle wasn't available to comment on his report today because his office said he was sick, but Health Minister Margaret McDiarmid says it's outcomes -- not budget line items -- that matters.
"I wouldn't only want to be focused on how much we spend. I think our outcomes are very important to look at as well.
"If we look at what our health care system accomplishes, we have the lowest cancer rates of cancer in the country and the best outcomes, lowest rates of smoking and obesity in the country."
No re-appointed yet
Doyle's ongoing status as auditor general has been the focus of much political debate lately after an all-party government committee decided not to renew his six-year contract,
But Premier Christy Clark stepped in yesterday and asked the Liberal MLA's on the selection committee to reverse their decision and extend Doyle's term for two more years.
The committee is expected to decide tomorrow whether they will ask the auditor general if he would be willing to stick around.
With files from CBC's Meera Bains