RNAO warns a precedent setting court case in B.C. threatens Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system

TORONTO, Sept. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - A highly anticipated court case set to begin in British Columbia next week has the potential to unravel the country's universal health-care system.

The case, beginning next Tuesday (Sept. 6) in B.C.'s Supreme Court, pits the province against Dr. Brian Day, an advocate for two-tier health care and a staunch supporter of for-profit health services.  

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) says Canadians from coast to coast should be alarmed that Day, the founder of a Vancouver private surgical facility, is determined to undermine a central principle of the health-care system – namely, that it exists for everyone. 

Under current laws, every Canadian is entitled to medically necessary services specified under the Canada Health Act, without charge. Day argues money should be able to buy certain Canadians  access to health care, and is challenging the right to for-profit health care under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"This is an attack on our country's health system, pure and simple. Brian Day believes and has always believed that the system exists for him and others to profit from it. Ask Canadians and the overwhelming majority consider our universal health system as part of our national identity," says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO's chief executive officer, adding that nurses want to protect the fundamental concept of care based on need, not ability to pay.    

RNAO says private, for-profit clinics threaten the very fabric of the country. If the court rules in his favour, it would effectively open the door to outside interests eager to profit on the backs of sick Canadians. It would also pave the way for American style two-tier health care where only those with private insurance or the money to pay out of pocket get health care. This is why RNAO is calling on all nurses and members of the public to mobilize to stop Brian Day's profit-driven crusade.

"Nurses are proud to work in a system that believes universal and equitable access to care is a human right. The path to improving our health system is not through compromising its core values, but instead through increasing universal access by using all health professionals to their full scope of practice, anchoring the system in primary care, creating stronger community care services and ensuring the use of evidence-based practice. Like all two-tier systems, Dr. Day's ideas benefit only a small elite, while substantially diminishing health outcomes for the rest of us," says RNAO president Carol Timmings.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about the association, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: or to arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), 416-408-5605 (office), 647-406-5605 (cellular)


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