Frequently Asked Questions

How do private, for-profit clinics affect wait times?


Private, for-profit clinics make wait times longer for almost everyone.

That’s because doctors can’t be in two places at once – private, for-profit clinics drain the limited supply of doctors and other health professionals from the rest of the health care system, lengthening waiting lists and reducing access.

Private for-profit clinics also use up needed resources scheduling unnecessary procedures, reducing the services available to other patients requiring medically necessary procedures.

Private, for-profit clinics often “cherry-pick” the healthiest patients, who are easiest, and cheapest, to treat. Patients who are very sick, and no longer profitable to treat, are often referred back into the public system, putting added stress on public resources. 

Private, for-profit clinics aren’t as good for you and they cost taxpayers more.

The evidence shows that private, for-profit health care produces worse patient outcomes than non-profit care, and they order more unnecessary tests and procedures.

Private, for-profit clinics conduct these unnecessary procedures at the taxpayer's expense, and tie up physician resources that could be used on medically necessary procedures.

Shouldn’t a doctor who wants to work privately be able to work privately?


They already can! B.C.’s Medical Protection Act does not prevent doctors or clinics from operating on an exclusively private basis.

If doctors are being supported by the government, the law states that they can’t charge patients more than the regulated fees.

If doctors un-enroll entirely from B.C.’s public insurance plan (so they are taking no public money), they can then charge patients directly for any services at whatever price the market will bear.

In our current system, doctors can't make as much money as they’d like to unless they are enrolled in the public system. 

Why doesn't Dr Day un-enroll and work privately?


One of the judges presiding over the case asked the same question. Day’s lawyers responded by saying that there is no business case for that.

It seems that without being subsidized by public funds, doctors who work in for-profit clinics would not make enough money.