Former Premier Gordon Campbell has provided an affidavit to support an injunction to prevent the B.C. NDP from punishing private clinics and diagnostic facilities until a constitutional challenge is decided.

The one-time B.C. Liberal leader said his administration did not clamp down on access to private health care as it eased lengthy queues for surgery formed because the public system was unable to meet needs.

Campbell’s six-page sworn statement is part of an application seeking a B.C. Supreme Court order suspending enforcement of changes to the Medicare Protection Act that take effect Oct. 1.

The handful of patients and two clinics engaged in marathon litigation attacking the validity of restrictions on private care filed several similar affidavits to buttress their lengthy argument urging the court to intervene until their trial concludes.

The B.C. NDP government said it adopted the provisions in April because it feared the federal government would reduce transfer payments.

The clinics, however, insist enforcement of the act could bankrupt them and private diagnostic facilities while causing untold suffering and perhaps death to British Columbians as the 70,000 they treat annually join historically lengthy waiting lists.

During his time governing from 2001-2011, Campbell said he and his cabinet wrestled interminably with the provision of private care.

Although the Medicare Protection Act effectively prohibited enrolled specialists from providing services in private clinics, he said the previous NDP government had permitted such contravention of the law for the same reasons his cabinet confronted.

“I was informed through many government briefings, reports and communications, that the wait times for scheduled medically necessary surgeries continued to increase and that delays in receiving medically necessary surgeries caused suffering and could cause permanent harm to many British Columbians,” Campbell said.

“Because of the information we had about long wait times for surgeries in the public health care system and the increasing costs of …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics


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