A question of health

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

The Interior Health Authority is under fire this week for contracting with private, for-profit clinics to address the shortage of ultrasound technologists in IHA hospitals.

There is no question that IHA needs to address the current shortage, but handing money over to these clinics is not the answer.

Private, for-profit clinics are an increasing and serious threat to the financial stability of our health care system. There is clear evidence that such clinics cost more than public facilities, and increase wait times in the public system by drawing away scarce health professionals.

The irony here is that private clinics have exacerbated the very shortage that the IHA is now facing because they have drained scarce ultrasound technologists from the public health care system where they are needed most. Some clinics are even using these technologists to provide non-medical services.

The B.C. government must take steps now to protect patients. This begins by establishing a moratorium on any further expansion of private, for-profit surgical and diagnostic clinics and ending the public funding of for-profit clinics, including the contracting out of day surgeries and the provision of Health Authority contracts.

Alice Edge,

BC Health Coalition co-chair