Sask. Party moving forward with back-door privatization in health care

Yesterday, the Sask. Party tabled its private CT scan bill – something they campaigned on. What they didn’t campaign on was giving themselves the power to make Saskatchewan people pay out-of-pocket for other private medical imaging procedures without any public debate or consultation. 

“This bill is very troubling for a number of reasons,” said NDP Health Critic Danielle Chartier. “The Sask. Party and the Health Minister have clearly overreached their mandate, and aren’t being straight with Saskatchewan people.”

The bill opens the door for private clinics to charge people out-of-pocket to perform MRIs and CT scans; however, it also allows for private clinics to perform and charge for other prescribed medical imaging services, such as x-rays and ultrasounds.

“Aside from proof that private MRIs and CT scans allow queue jumping, we have seen no evidence to prove that this is an effective model,” said Chartier. “The Sask. Party is now trying to sneak in the back door, something they refused to be honest about when campaigning at people’s front doors.”

Chartier added that she has concerns around patient safety, noting that many private MRI clinics use out-of-province doctors to read scans, so the proper physician consultation isn’t always happening. She further noted that the Ontario Provincial Auditor raised concerns that governments aren’t always properly monitoring how private clinics refer patients for MRI services, which poses the risk of clogging up the system with unnecessary scans.

“This would be a huge step away from the public health care people of Saskatchewan rely on,” said Chartier. “The Sask. Party should not go ahead without full transparency and public consultation.”