Ontario is expanding the private delivery of public health care, by funding procedures such as more cataract surgeries and MRI and CT scans.
Making the announcement today, Premier Doug Ford lamented “endless debates” about who should deliver health care, but all he cares about is getting people the care they need quickly and safely.
Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones say the procedures will continue to be paid for by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, though critics worry what the plan will do to hospital staffing and say patients are sometimes pushed to pay out of pocket for add-ons at the private clinics.
Jones says the first stage of the new plan is to add 14,000 cataract surgeries through “new partnerships” at centres in Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.
As well, she says the province is putting $18 million in existing centres across the province for MRI and CT scans, cataract surgeries, other ophthalmic surgeries, certain gynecological surgeries and plastic surgeries.
Subsequent steps in the plan are set to include expanding the scope of private surgical and diagnostic centres, including more colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures, and in 2024, expanding surgeries at clinics for hip and knee replacements.