Jan 17, 2023

By Jane Brown

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There is push back across the broader medical community in Ontario over Premier Doug Ford’s new plan to expand the private delivery of some procedures and surgeries with public money.

Doctor Andrew Boozary is a primary care physician at the University Health Network.

He told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer, they looked to expand access to MRIs in private for-profit clinics in Saskatchewan, and it did not prove to be a success.

“The actual experience and the evaluation show that it actually did not see a decrease in wait times but at best, maybe a flat lining,” Boozary explained.

But with 200,000 people in Ontario waiting for surgeries, the premier is promising quick relief.

“The way I can describe it, you have a dam and you have a log jam. Are you going to just keep pouring the water up against the logs or are you going to reroute some of the water and take the pressure of the dam? You see what happens when the dam has too much water, it breaks,” Ford explained at a Monday news conference.

Others in the medical community, including ER Doctor Michael Warner at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, say there are other ways to relieve this pressure.

“It’s not clear to me why we’re not extending hours or using weekends to do more publicly funded surgeries in our public hospitals,” Warner questioned.

Phase one of this new plan will see an additional 14,000 cataract surgeries at centres in Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor and Ottawa.

In addition, $18-million is going into existing centres across the province for MRI and CT scans, cataract surgeries, other eye surgeries, as well as certain gynecological and plastic surgeries.

Subsequent steps are to include increasing the scope of private surgical and diagnostic centres, then expanding hip and knee replacements at the clinics beginning next year.

National figures show the waits for hip and knee replacements in Ontario are shorter than anywhere else in Canada.

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