VICTORIA B.C. – B.C. Green leader Sonia Furstenau has called for Health Minister Adrian Dix to release a report by the B.C. Medical Services Commission on Telus Health’s private, fee-based healthcare programs. The corporation is accused of charging patients for basic healthcare needs, allowing queue-jumping, and contributing to a two-tier healthcare system. The report has been with Minister Dix since June 30, 2022.
“While almost a million British Columbians go without a family doctor, private corporations are swooping in to offer healthcare services for a cost,” Furstenau said. “British Columbians need to know that these private healthcare providers are not allowing queue-jumping or other practices that are illegal under our universal healthcare system. Minister Dix has had this report on Telus Health for almost six weeks, yet we’ve heard nothing from him.
“We must protect our public healthcare system from the encroachment of for-profit interests. When Minister Dix was in opposition, he advocated fiercely for this position. Now that he is in government, we should see that same conviction in action."
In recent months, patients have come forward to share news that their family doctors have closed their practices and moved to Telus Health or other for-profit healthcare providers. To continue seeing their doctors, patients would have to pay fees. The Telus Health LifePlus program, for example, costs $4,650 for the first year and $3,600 annually in subsequent years.
“The gaps in our healthcare system need to be filled by a government with a plan, not by corporations eyeing a business opportunity. Indeed, the family doctor crisis has been a long time in the making; both the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP bear responsibility for it. But the onus for fixing it is on the party in government, and thus far, the B.C. NDP has failed to do anything meaningful about it.
“We need a plan that will give healthcare professionals the freedom to build their own team-based practices, with the government-funded infrastructure to support them. Until that happens, we will see more and more doctors burn out, leave their practices behind, and move to more sustainable and lucrative positions in the private sector.”
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