Monday, November 07, 2005

socialised medicine in action

Currently there is a severe shortage of MRI and CAT scan facilities in Ontario.  Wait times are between two and three months for a scan, longer up north.  Why don't we have mobile scanners on trucks like they do in the States?  Here's why:

A new American-run company is lobbying for permission to offer mobile diagnostic imaging clinics in Canada, claiming the service would cut waiting times for MRIs and CAT scans, better serve remote areas and slash the cost of such tests.

One of the firm's owners, Michigan radiologist Richard Chesbrough, provides a similar service in the Detroit area, with tractor-trailers taking the scanners-on-wheels along a weekly route.

The physician said he thought of exporting the idea to Canada partly because of a friend in Ontario whose father died last year from a heart attack while waiting to see a busy cardiologist.

Any such service would likely have to be approved by the government under the province's Independent Health Facilities Act, which regulates for-profit clinics operating under medicare.

A spokesman for George Smitherman, the Health Minister, said the province would be unlikely to give a green light, even if the service operated as part of the government-funded medicare system.

In fact, the province has already been buying up previously private MRI centres, and last year shut the door on a Cleveland-based company planning to take mobile ultrasound clinics into Ontario on a user-pay basis.

"Entertaining this sort of idea is not something we're interested in," said David Spencer, an aide to Mr. Smitherman.

"We are making some progress here and before we start considering some of these alternative services, we should make sure the public system is as good as it can be."

Liberal ideology, that's why.  They would sooner let people die waiting than let a private company make a buck selling a needed service, and doing it cheaper than the public system too.  Bastards!

The Scanning Phantom

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