Coalition warns against private clinics in Sask. | National Union of Public and General Employees

Coalition warns against private clinics in Sask.

Private delivery of services should not even be considered, says Canadian Health Coalition.

Regina (5 Nov. 2009) - The Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) is warning the Saskatchewan government not to turn to private clinics to deal with surgical wait times.

"If you're interested in serving the public interest, then you don't want to engage in outsourcing the diagnostics or the surgical centres," the CHC says.

"It damages the public system and it costs more money.... Don't jeopardize the progress you've made now by introducing a corporate virus, which will affect the public immune system."

Health Minister Don McMorris has put together a group of doctors, health officials and others to study ways to deal with people on waiting lists. The province has indicated that privatized surgery in some cases is one of the possibilities it wants to assess.

The coalition and other health advocacy groups argue that private delivery of such services should not even be considered.

"We know from Canadian experience that private clinics exacerbate wait times, poach scarce health professionals from the public sector and increase the cost of health services," says the Saskatchewan Health Care Coalition (SHCC).

The SHCC says the province has failed to acknowledge the progress made by other means to reduce wait times. It cited a federal-provincial strategy implemented in 2004.

"As a result of this co-ordinated strategy, wait times for medically necessary surgeries have dropped significantly in Saskatchewan and across the country," the SHCC says. "Clearly the provincial-national strategy is a success story, one that uses public sector solutions."

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