"Today’s Appeal Court judgment is a victory for all patients. The ruling upholds important sections of the BC Medicare Protection Act that ensure patients do not need to pay out-of-pocket for medically necessary health care.
The Court of Appeal agreed that the record and findings at trial, which included extensive expert evidence, amply support the conclusion that a duplicative private-pay system would result in longer wait times and, therefore, even poorer care for those who would have no option but the public system.
BCNU is pleased the court has upheld our society's foundational norms which prioritize fairness and favour a needs-based model for the provision of health care. In doing so, this approach preserves our publicly funded system as one delivering necessary services based on need and not ability to pay making it clear that the principles of medicare are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
BCNU and the patient intervenors we supported provided important testimony throughout this litigation. We highlighted the serious ethical shortcomings of for-profit care and showed that dual practice physicians working in both the public and private system have been allowed to take advantage of vulnerable patients.
As health-care professionals, nurses have been gravely concerned about private medical clinics' billing practices, and today's judgment confirms that they are a direct threat to medicare and the health and well-being of Canadians.
It is no longer 'business as usual' at for-profit surgical clinics in this province, and Dr. Day and others should no longer be allowed to flout our public health-care laws and take advantage of vulnerable patients by engaging in dual practice and extra-billing.
Going forward, we continue to call on the government to prioritize investment in public facilities, limit the contracting out of surgeries whenever possible and invest in public solutions that will benefit all British Columbians."
- The BC Nurses' Union
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