Saturday, January 21, 2012

Private delivery of public health a serious threat

By Rachel Tutte
The Daily News
January 20, 2012

The new Health Care Innovation Working Group announced at this week's Council of the Federation meeting in Victoria is a chance for the provinces to build on the many positive public solutions available to strengthen Medicare.

But patients should be concerned by working group co-chair and Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall's comment that suffering patients choose surgery over ideology when receiving the services of a private for-profit surgical facility.

Given the choice between ideology and evidence, responsible policy makers choose evidence. The evidence from across the country is clear: for-profit clinics cost more than public facilities, increase wait times by draining health care workers from public hospitals, and compromise patient safety

Private delivery of publicly funded surgical services is not innovative. It's a serious and increasing threat to our health and our wallets and leads to unequal, two-tier care that most of us can't afford.

Fortunately, evidence-based public solutions are available right now to policy makers who are serious about addressing our health care challenges. The best examples are some of the innovations in home and community care that take pressure off hospital and emergency services right here in B.C.

Rachel Tutte, Co-chair BC Health Coalition

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