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Health coalition says use of private clinics won’t cure B.C.’s surgical backlog

Greater use of for-profit clinics could pull doctors and nurses away from the public system, argues BC Health Coalition

A coalition of public health-care advocates is calling on the British Columbia government to ease a COVID-19-caused surgical backlog through publicly funded solutions, not private clinics.

The BC Health Coalition is concerned the province’s Surgical Renewal Plan could escalate the use of for-profit surgical clinics.

The coalition says the plan to reduce wait times should first offer concrete proposals to ramp up improvements to public systems.

Coalition co-chair Edith MacHattie says using for-profit surgical clinics has the potential to further entrench profit-driven health care in B.C.

She says the wait reduction plan makes what she calls “bold commitments” to expand public operating room hours, but she believes the province must go further.

The coalition wants the health ministry to make full use of public hospital capacity before using private clinics, and to scale up B.C.’s five rapid access clinics doing hip and knee replacements.

Greater use of for-profit clinics could pull doctors and nurses away from the public system, draining it of resources as it tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, MacHattie says in a statement.

“This is an opportunity to implement proven innovations that will make our public system stronger and more resilient now and into the future,” she says.

The Canadian Press

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