By Neil Colmin, The Star Pheonix, November 14, 2015
The public needs to know the whole story about the capacity of our health-care system before we move to a private option for those willing to pay out of pocket for an MRI scan.
Based on Canadian averages, Saskatchewan should have at least nine public MRIs. We currently have only six. To the credit of our government, we have a new public MRI opening in Moose Jaw. Yet the funding and plan for it only provides for it operating eight hours a day, Monday to Friday.
I know of other sites in Saskatchewan where MRI units run between 8 a.m. and midnight except for weekends. Why not Moose Jaw? When you look at Alberta, it’s easy to conclude that privatization is not the solution. Experience should guide our decision-making: we have a limited and valuable resource in the public sector – the professionals who perform and read MRIs and other diagnostic tests.
When private MRI providers move in, we risk losing these valued resources. The devaluation and depletion of our public systems create more opportunities for third parties to make a profit, resulting in longer public wait lists.
Of course we are seeing an increase in the demand for MRIs in Saskatchewan. That’s predictable given our growing population. Yet with that increasing population comes more resources. What our government needs to do is to meet the financial and human resources to manage the increased demand in the public system.
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