REGINA: The long-promised public day surgery centre in Regina would do far more to expand the region’s surgical capacity than the use of for-profit surgical clinics, according to information obtained by CUPE research through the freedom of information act.
Regina’s Ambulatory Surgery Centre (ASC), originally announced by the former NDP government in the spring of 2007, was to perform 7,000 outpatient procedures annually when it opened in 2011. The centre also was going to house a new diagnostic imaging centre and pre-admission clinic for all surgical patients in the region.
Documents obtained by CUPE show the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region expected the new $14 million surgery centre would “make a significant impact” on patients’ surgical experience. Plans for the new day surgery centre included five full-sized operating rooms with “the ability to handle virtually any outpatient procedure performed in the region.”
But the Saskatchewan Party government postponed capital funding for the project in 2009.
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 – much less than what was projected for the public day surgery centre, noted CUPE researcher Cheryl Stadnichuk.
“The region’s decision to contract out surgeries has not been a positive move for patients,” said Stadnichuk. “Instead of improving surgical capacity, the health region is now facing a multi-million lawsuit filed by one for-profit clinic and conflict of interest allegations.”
Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council, said the public day surgery centre is “the best pathway” to expand surgical capacity in the region. “If the government was serious about putting patients first, it would restore funding to the public day surgery centre and get it built,” he stated.
For more information, contact:
Gordon Campbell at 306-539-0661 or Cheryl Stadnichuk at 306-525-5874