Private clinics would make public wait times longer

Dozens of innovative projects have resulted in dramatic improvements to wait times

To the editor;

Media stories over the past week about people waiting too long for hip replacement surgeries remind us that we need to shorten wait times for some procedures.

The good news is, we know how. Across B.C, and Canada, dozens of innovative projects have resulted in dramatic improvements to wait times. For example, the Alberta Bone and Joint Institute reduced wait times for hip and knee surgery from 11 months to nine weeks.

B.C. needs to act on innovations proven to reduce wait times and improve health outcomes, and apply their successes and efficiencies across the health care system.

The result will ensure everyone can get timely, quality care when they need it.

The same can’t be said about one B.C. for-profit clinic owner’s plan to make it possible for doctors to charge patients whatever they want for necessary care – and to choose to refuse patients who can’t afford to pay.

Dr. Brian Day’s constitutional challenge to health care law, which goes to trial this year, would result in more doctors being siphoned out of the public system and into for-profit clinics – making wait times longer for almost everyone.

Innovation in the public system will improve timely care for Canadians. Day’s proposal would only beef up profits for private insurance companies and for-profit facility owners like himself, all at the expense of the health –and wallets – of Canadians.

Rick Turner, co-chair

BC Health Coalition