The B.C. government recently released just how high the public bill has been for the use of private clinics to catch up on its surgical backlog, a figure that has been on steady climb even before the pandemic.
In 2015/2016, just $4.7 million went to private surgeries. The next year, the figure had more than tripled to $14.5 million. By 2019/20, it had reached $23 million. In 2020-21, B.C. spent $27 million.
According to BCHC research associate Andrew Longhurst, "It can become more difficult to reduce wait time in the medium- to long-term in the public system because you're actually moving those resources -- namely people, specialized health-care professionals – from public hospitals because you're trying to outcompete and pay them for shifts in for-profit clinics".