Public Supports Ontario Private Surgery Approach
- Leger poll commissioned by SecondStreet.org shows 59% of Ontarians support governments hiring private clinics to reduce waiting list backlogs
- Saskatchewan’s Surgical Initiative reduced wait times while saving money
SecondStreet.org responded to the Ontario government’s decision to hire private clinics to perform surgeries for the public by highlighting three important points: this decision can help reduce patient suffering, polls show the public is on board, and the government’s approach can even reduce costs.
“Other provinces have found that they can provide quality surgeries for patients faster by hiring private clinics to perform surgeries for the public,” said SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig. “For patients, it will be just like seeing your family doctor for a health problem. You walk in, receive your surgery and walk out without paying a bill. Just like in the public system, the surgery will be paid for through tax dollars.”
Public Support – 59% of Ontarians think that, “governments should pay private and non-profit clinics to perform surgeries, procedures and diagnostic scans to reduce waiting times for patients” according to an October 2022 poll conducted by Leger for SecondStreet.org.
Reduce Patient Suffering – Saskatchewan’s successful “Surgical Initiative” saw the government hire private clinics to help reduce waiting lists in the public system. According to the Saskatchewan government, there were 15,234 patients who had waited longer than three months for surgery in March 2010 when the initiative began. Five years later, that figure was down to 1,751.
Cost Savings – The Fraser Institute estimated that private clinics hired under the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative provided surgeries for approximately 26% less than what the procedures would have cost in the public system. The Saskatchewan government indicated to SecondStreet.org that costs were closer to 35-45% less. Either way, this approach has proven to be a cost-effective measure.
“We can’t forget that the health care system has been in a crisis for years, even before COVID,” added Craig. “We can’t keep throwing money at the system and hoping for a miracle. The government’s decision will help bring Ontario more in-line with what countries with better performing health care systems do.”
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