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Ford government seeks to increase surgeries in private clinics

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government is preparing to significantly increase the number of surgeries performed in private, for-profit clinics.

Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones plan to make an announcement next week about expanding the number and range of surgeries performed in freestanding health centers outside of hospitals, said a senior government official, who asked not to be identified because they were presenting the government's plans. .

For Ontario patients, the official says the move will result in thousands of surgeries and diagnostic procedures being performed each year, an immediate way to reduce wait times for simple operations.

In the face of questions that the province's contracting out of private clinics could lead to privatization of health care, Premier Ford has defended their use:

I don't like the term "private", because it is not, I assure you no one in Ontario will have to pay for those services with their credit card, they will do it with the OHIP card. but if we can take the burden and the long waiting lists off the hospitals and have independent health centers, with the same standards and even the same doctors, who can go to those places on their own time. People don't care about the place as long as you have the same regulations, the same top-notch doctors who work in the hospitals and who can have a few hours off to go to another facility and operate. Simple surgeries, not the more complicated ones, like hip replacements, knee replacements, cataracts, these are simple procedures but they overload our health care system.

Free-standing health facilities are privately operated clinics that receive public funding from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to perform medically necessary procedures.

But several health professionals are concerned that the measure will drain resources from publicly funded hospitals and benefit private sector clinic owners without improving patient care. They are also concerned that the measure will reduce the ability of hospitals to retain their staff and keep them from leaving for the private sector.

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