VICTORIA – Indigenous peoples in B.C. have inequitable access to preventative and primary health-care services, which perpetuates poorer health outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations in the province, the final report of the Addressing Racism Review shows.
A comprehensive data report, released today by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, independent reviewer, brings together the data and information collected by the review, which was commissioned by B.C.’s Minister of Health in June 2020. The data report follows up on “In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-Specific Racism in B.C. Health Care” full and summary reports released on Nov. 30, 2020.
“Our extensive review of data reveals a system that does not provide Indigenous peoples with sufficient and safe access to primary and preventative care, and is therefore skewed towards emergency and specialized treatment,” Turpel-Lafond said. “Indigenous peoples have substantially less access to physician services and less attachment to primary care practitioners.
“When you combine these factors with the overwhelming evidence of racism in the health-care system – which we explored in depth in our previous reports – it’s not difficult to see why health outcomes for Indigenous peoples are poorer. New initiatives are positive attempts to fill this void, like the First Nations Health Authority’s (FNHA) ‘Virtual Doctor of the Day,’ however, a full continuum of care and networks of First Nations-led primary care are needed to overcome the serious deficiencies we found for Indigenous peoples.”
The initial “In Plain Sight” reports offered 24 recommendations to eliminate Indigenous-specific racism and make health care safer and more effective in British Columbia. This data report builds on those earlier reports and offers baseline measurement of how the system is performing for Indigenous peoples, featuring more detailed breakdowns of the data, including by region. The work was made possible with extensive co-operation from the FNHA and Métis Nation BC (MNBC) (including their respective governance processes and/or analytical resources).
“Racism is toxic for people, and it is toxic for care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The situation as it exists, and as is depicted in the details of this report, cannot stand. I am very grateful to Dr. Turpel-Lafond and her team, and to every person who took part in this review. Your work, courage and commitment have provided a roadmap for meaningful change. Together with Indigenous leadership, health professionals, colleagues and partners, we will address systemic racism in our health-care system and root out its deeply damaging effects.”
A summary version of the full report is available here: