Monday, June 18, 2007

Picking up what Dr. Day is laying down

Like fresh ocean air:

Canada's top doctor singled out New Democrat leader Jack Layton yesterday for "hypocrisy" for undergoing hernia treatment at a private Toronto medical clinic.

But Brian Day, president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association, was quick to note Layton is in good company.

Former prime ministers Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Joe Clark also have been treated at private medical clinics, Day told the annual meeting of the Canadian Science Writers' Association.

And he said union leader Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Autoworkers, proved a master at "queue jumping" when he got in for an MRI within 24 hours of injuring his leg.

"Even I couldn't do that," said Day, the outspoken and media savvy orthopedic surgeon who takes over in August as president of the CMA, which represents 62,000 physicians across Canada.

Day, who will serve a one-year term, has been busy honing his arguments - and anecdotes - for what is sure to be a lively year for the normally staid medical organization.

Day, dubbed "Dr. Profit" and the "Darth Vader of health care" by his critics, is a well-known proponent of private clinics and has been operating the highly successful Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver since 1996.

In an hour-long speech yesterday, he said Canada's health-care system is inefficient, run by a bloated and expanding bureaucracy, and governed by political leaders who are hypocrites when it comes to their own personal health care.

He flashed up pictures of Layton and the prime ministers who have railed against the evils of private medical clinics, saying they have visited private clinics for treatment in recent years.

"We need some honesty," said Day, who argues it is impossible for the politicians to deliver on their promises of equal access to health care for everyone, for free. "We can't make it equal, but we can make it good for people."


tired of the stories said...

This is a tired argument. As I understand it -Jack Layton was referred to a clinic in Ontario that is covered under the Ontario Health Plan. I just don't see the hypocracy you and Dr. Day are spinning.

David MacLean said...

Well, that's exactly the point. First off, the shouldice hospital began as a private, for-profit hospital but was grandfathered.

Now, the hospital is non-profit, but the doctors who work there operate as a for-profit clinic like any other medical office.

However, even establishing a clinic like shouldice would be next to impossible right now under the Canada Health Act.

We've long advocated the use of private clinics and hospitals under the public system, but folks like Layton call it the "thin edge of the wedge."

The irony is that the conditions that allowed the best hernia surgical facility in the world to develop have now been outlawed in Canada.

So long, innovation.

Blogging Horse said...

Jack Layton did not use private health care. He made this clear in the last election.

Hundreds of Ontarians are referred to the Shouldice hernia clinic every year and pay with their provincial health card, just like Layton did.

Under provincial law, the Shouldice clinic:

a) is part of the public system (Dr. Day's Cambrie Clinic isn't).

b) is prevented from expanding or being sold (Dr. Day's Cambrie Clinic isn't).

c) has a cap put on how much it may charge the provincial health system. (Dr. Day's Cambrie Clinic isn't).

If he wishes to be taken seriously, Dr. Day should at least acquaint himself with the public system he is so vehemently opposed to.

David MacLean said...


b) is prevented from expanding or being sold (Dr. Day's Cambrie Clinic isn't).

You don't think it's problematic the most advanced hernia surgical center in the world is prohibited from expanding?

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