Island Health planning to contract out surgeries

Dear editor,

I wonder how many people have heard the news that Island Health (VIHA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RPF) to contract out up to 55,000 surgeries to for-profit clinics on Vancouver Island over the next five  years, ostensibly to reduce wait times?

Rather than spending our tax dollars to create profits for private clinic shareholders and their owners, why isn’t our provincial government building capacity in publicly-funded hospitals and creating outpatient surgical clinics?

North Vancouver’s “one-stop” joint replacement assessment clinic and Mt. St. Joseph’s Hospital cataract and corneal transplant program have both dramatically reduced wait times within the public system.

Research shows that for-profit clinics charge the government more for these surgeries than they would cost in the public system. Private clinics need to maximize their profits and so are more likely to cut corners, making them less safe than our public hospitals.  As medical practitioners move from our cash-starved public system to for-profit clinics, waiting lists increase.

Publicly funded hospitals have allowed us to contain the cost of health care. No allowance has to be made for profits to be paid to clinic owners and shareholders. This new policy of relying on for-profit clinics, rather than increasing capacity in our public system, will only increase the costs of health care to the taxpayer.

Kathie Woodley

Courtenay

 

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