Healthcare. (Pixabay)

Decade-long health care battle draws to a close today in B.C.

Dr. Brian Day began his battle a decade ago against the B.C. government

A constitutional challenge by a doctor who argues patients should have the right to pay for private care if the public system leaves them waiting too long is expected to wrap up today in a Vancouver courtroom.

Dr. Brian Day began his battle a decade ago against the British Columbia government.

The case started in B.C. Supreme Court in 2016 and final arguments are scheduled to come to a close today.

Day is an orthopedic surgeon who legally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver in 1996.

He says he opened the centre to create more operating-room time for surgeons who couldn’t get it in public hospitals.

However, the facility has been operating since 2003 in violation of unproclaimed provisions of the provincial Medicare Protection Act.

Joe Arvay told the court on Thursday that Day’s main objective is to cherry pick parts of the Medicare Protection Act after it is abolished. The act requires doctors to opt out of billing the government for work in the public system if they are also earning more money in private clinics.

READ MORE: Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Arvay said a victory for Day would usher in a complicated and expensive administrative regime dependent on public funds for the benefit of physicians wishing to expand private services that would not be regulated by the government.

“The plaintiffs are not seeking to opt out of the public system in its entirety,” Arvay said. “Even in the private market they wish to establish, they would continue to benefit from society’s investment in health-care professionals and public funding of the entire health-care infrastructure.”

Arvay said doctors employed in the public system are known to refer patients to themselves in private clinics where they also work in order to bypass wait times that apply to everyone who can’t afford to pay out of pocket or through private insurance.

He said physicians are paid more money in the private system than they earn in hospitals so they stand to financially benefit twice from such a scheme.

Arvay represents an intervener group that includes two physicians, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the BC Health Coalition and two patients.

Day maintains that patients who have waited too long for an operation or diagnostic tests in the public system are deprived of timely care and should have a right to private treatment under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River planning desk remains open

Email or telephone only for planning, approval and engineering

North Island College going digital for spring, summer terms

Students won’t need to be on campus for coursework, labs or exams

Campbell River elementary school wins Follett Challenge award

Willow Point School earned $5,000 US in Follett products and software

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Controversial Cowichan tiny house still in place after removal deadline

Cowichan Valley Regional District had ordered it removed by March 15

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Vancouver Island’s ‘Project Draw Breath’ expands and diversifies to battle pandemic

Grassroots team working to up supplies of ventilators, other equipment during COVID-19 crisis

B.C. man sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Green says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Wage subsidy program has been greatly expanded since it was first approved

Most Read