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City, News

Public/Private Healthcare Comes to Montreal

Posted by MP / August 8, 2007

According to a report on CBC news at 6, Montréal's Sacré Coeur Hospital announced that it would be out-sourcing some of its day surgeries to Rockland MD, a private clinic. These sorts of public-private partnerships are legal under the Québec Health Act, but the questions raised by these actions won't bring easy answers for some time.

The move, according to the CBC report, is prompted by the intense nursing shortage which forces the hospital to leave 4 of its 12 operating rooms permanently closed. The hospital is required under Québec law to perform 12,000 surgeries per year.

By itself, outsourcing these surgeries isn't a bad idea. For the time being, it shortens waits, and frees up surgeons to do more difficult and time-sensitive surgeries. But Québec health care officials need to start thinking about long-term solutions to these staffing issues. How do we get more nurses and doctors in our hospitals and CLSCs? Public money is going into this clinic to pay for these surgeries.

We need to get more money flowing directly into hospitals that serve ALL patients, not just those with extra disposable income. While it's saddening that some physicians would choose to opt out of our health care system to reach for shorter hours and larger paychecks, it's a reality.

More than that, we need to prioritize public accountability in our health care system. While the short report aired on CBC-TV on August 7, there was no mention of this issue on any of the city's major news websites, nor even on the hospital's own site.

What do you think? Are partnerships like this good for patients, or do they represent a slow erosion of our public health care system?

Other Cities: Toronto