OTTAWA – CUPE National President Paul Moist is pleased that federal Health Minister has acknowledged the threat to public health care posed by private clinics.
Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh told a Vancouver radio station on Tuesday that “[w]hen you have a lot of [private clinics] you will have all of the energy and all of the assets and all of the personnel drained from the public system, and the public system would be far worse than it is today.”
Further, Dosanjh stated for-profit, private clinics are “absolutely not a panacea” for long wait times, and he admitted they are “not any more efficient or less expensive” than public health services.
Dosanjh’s statements were welcomed by CUPE National President Paul Moist.
“Minister Dosanjh is right: private clinics drain the public system of trained staff and increase waiting times,” said Moist. “This limits access for the majority of Canadians and is clearly a violation of a core principle of the Canada Health Act.”
“The minister must act against the provinces that are letting private clinics damage the public system. Petty fines are not enough. The minister must step up, shut these clinics down and work through the public system to improve health care for all Canadians.”
Dosanjh’s remarks come as the Canadian Medical Association Journal published articles critical of the benefits of private services on the public system. One article cites data from the UK showing that regions with high levels of private insurance coverage were likely to have relatively long waiting lists.
Paul Moist, National President, cell (613) 558-2873; Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer, cell (514) 884-5074; David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431