Stop privatization of surgeries and hold public hearings, health coalition tells government

A move by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to privatize thousands of surgical procedures has staggering implications for public health care, says a medicare advocacy organization.

And the BC Health Coalition is calling on Health Services Minister Colin Hansen to order a stop to the health authority's plans to contract out publicly insured surgeries and hold public hearings on the government's health privatization plans.

"We're suffering from a health care accountability crisis in BC," says health coalition coordinator Terrie Hendrickson. "Privatizing surgical services has never been on the agenda of a public meeting of this health authority's board and these plans do not appear in the authority's three-year redesign plan.

"It 's outrageous that a government that promised to be the most open and accountable in the country has been working secretly to sell off public health care services.

"British Columbians must be consulted now, before any further moves are made that would erode the public delivery of critical health services."

Hendrickson says plans to privatize up to 3,200 day surgeries at Richmond Hospital fly in the face of overwhelming evidence that such a move would put patients at risk and cost taxpayers more.

And she says the health coalition is not convinced by claims that the authority can send procedures to private clinics without violating the Canada Health Act and will file a complaint with Health Canada about the proposal.

"Government is putting its privatization ideology ahead of the needs of patients and the well-being of our public health care system," says Hendrickson. "It's time to put the public back in the picture."

HSA is a member of the BC Health Coalition.


Contact: Terrie Hendrickson, BCHC Coordinator, 604-816-7581 (cell)