A novel use for the BC HealthGuide

Issue: BCMJ, No. 6, July August 2001, Page 316 Editorials

This will probably come across as sounding like I get delight from terrorizing wounded animals, but I just had to comment on the BC HealthGuide. I have to wonder what went into the decision-making process that allowed the spending of so much money for so little potential benefit. There seems to be a paucity of literature that validates the creation and distribution of government-funded self-help books. The only obvious reason for advancing this project through the ministry had to be economic. In other words, the hope must have been that people would read it, answer their medical questions without accessing the medical system, and save the government some money. I don’t know if anyone in the Ministry has noticed a marked decline in doctors’ visits since the guide was mailed out, but I suspect if there had been, we would have heard about it prior to the election.

Two studies were recently released in the BMJ (2001;322:1214-1217 and 2001;322:1218-1220) that demonstrated that self-help booklets had no significant impact on the use of health services. I wonder if anyone in the Health Ministry actually looked in the medical literature for validation?

The only other obvious reason for this project had to be a purely political one, but it seems to have failed as miserably as the rest of the NDP’s grand schemes. I wonder how much this one cost us?

My brother-in-law has come up with a good idea for his guide. He plans to take it to his cabin and use it as outhouse supplies. Is this what they mean by wiping the slate clean?


James A. Wilson, MD. A novel use for the BC HealthGuide. BCMJ, Vol. , No. 6, July, August, 2001, Page(s) 316 - Editorials.

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