For the past number of years I have enjoyed your comments on the news program and would certainly agree with probably 95% of them. However yesterday I did take exception to some of your expectations regarding the benefits of allowing private health care to expand in B.C. These opinions are based on both local and U.K. experiences.
In the U.K. the National Health Service has declined over many years thanks to the neglect of government. Private health correspondedly has expanded as more and more “middle class” families felt the need for private insurance to cover health costs due to the decline of the NHS, and as more folk had private insurance the government could simply “ignore’ the needs of the public system which declined further.
An example of the service currently provided—-my brother required a hip replacement and as he has insurance the offer was ‘ would next Thursday be suitable for your surgery?’ With the NHS the wait time was at least 2 years!
In the UK doctors are free to work both with the NHS and have “private” patients, and as the latter being more financially rewarding private practices simply expand. And so the question why would medical professionals stay in the NHS when opportunities exist to make much more money privately?
Now locally. We lost our family doctor in Salmon Arm approximately 18 months ago—he has discovered a way to practice privately and with no replacement we are without a family doctor for the first time in 52 years in Canada!
So what we see happening here in not an improvement in health service when private health is allowed but rather a loss of doctors and other health specialists, including nurses, from the public system causing greater and greater shortages with reduced service to all those who cannot afford private health insurance. Why follow the example of the U.K. and make the same mistakes!
Another example, it is practically impossible to arrange an appointment with a dermatologist in Kamloops, unless you go private, then no problem. And what about the other specialties in Kamloops. Wait times are so much shorter for those ‘specialists’ who have abandoned the public system to follow the dollar, and politicians will never admit that private practice will not !contribute to the shortage.
So considering the current shortages of various health professionals in B.C. and across the country, privatization would simply seriously reduce medical service to a majority of Canadians.