The long-promised public day surgery centre in Regina would do far more to expand surgical capacity than the use of for-profit surgical clinics.
That’s the message in CUPE’s new television ad, Build it, which airs today in Regina.
The innovative public Ambulatory Surgery Centre (ASC) was expected to handle 7,000 outpatient procedures annually by 2011. Plans for the free-standing centre, announced by the former NDP government in the spring of 2007, also include an expanded pre-admission clinic and a new diagnostic imaging centre with MRIs, CT scanners, ultrasound and X-ray equipment.
Documents obtained by CUPE show the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region expected the new $14 million public Ambulatory Surgery Centre (ASC) would “make a significant impact” on patients’ surgical experience.
It’s a view shared by the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. In his final report, Commissioner Roy Romanow states: “Rather than subsidize private facilities with public dollars, governments should choose to ensure that the public system has sufficient capacity and is universally accessible.” (page 9)
But the Saskatchewan Party government postponed capital funding for the project in November 2009. The Health Ministry has not said when funding will be restored.
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region subsequently signed contracts with for-profit clinics to perform about 350 surgical procedures in 2010-2011 and 1,700 in 2011-2012.
“The region’s decision to contract out surgeries has not been a positive move for patients,” said CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “Instead of improving public surgical capacity, the government is expanding the profit margins of private companies.”
Graham said if the government was serious about setting ideology aside; it would restore funding to the public day surgery centre and get it built.
- For more information go to: keephealthcarepublic.ca