Skip to main content

Two-tiered medical system is inevitable in Canada: Nova Scotia doctor

In addition to being the mayor of Amherst, David Kogon also happens to be a retired physician who continues to practice and do surgeries across the border in New Brunswick.

Kogon says, with private health-care clinics already making their way into Nova Scotia and other provinces like Quebec, a two-tiered system is likely the solution to the current health-care crisis.

"I think a combination of a public and private system is inevitable," said Kogon. "Only Canada and North Korea seem to be left with a totally public system, because it isn't really sustainable anymore."

Kogon says it's the only way other countries have been able to make their health-care systems sustainable, and it's the same case in Canada.

"Throwing more money into the current system is treating the symptoms of the disease as it were, but the real cure for the disease is going to be ultimately a two-tiered health care system," said Kogon.

The private system can not only alleviate and take the pressure off huge government spending on health care, but would also free up space in the public health system by spreading out resources and directing patients to private care.

Dr. Leisha Hawker, the president of Doctors Nova Scotia, disagrees and says moving to a two-tiered health system would not only take health-care professionals out of the public sector, but create further inequities for lower-income patients.

"We already have significant health inequities between Nova Scotians," said Hawker. "We know our lowest income Nova Scotians have more health issues than the higher-income Nova Scotians, and then having a two-tiered system such as this, I only predict it would worsen the disparities and health inequities."

Nova Scotia Nurses' Union president Janet Hazleton warns against allowing private medical clinics to be set up here, saying it paves the way for more privatization.

"Paying for your health care is a slippery slope and we don't want to be like the United States," said Hazelton. "Privatization is not the answer and it doesn't make it more efficient like the people will lead you to believe.”

Hazelton said these nurse-led private clinics don't want sick patients and they can't help them. They only end up coming back to the public system when serious conditions arise.

"They don't have an overnight, they don't have an intensive care, they don't have a CCU, they don't have it," said Hazelton. "If someone goes there and gets very ill, then they are transferred to one of our acute care facilities to be cared for and back in the public system where they'll get the care they need."

Hazelton says breakthroughs in care are making an impact, like advancements in virtual and tele-health care, and she feels the province should create more community nurse and nurse practitioner-led clinics to help to ease the backlog in hospitals.

In June, Quebec-based medical health company Algomed set up its first clinic outside its home province in Dartmouth, and in that time, has already registered more than 200 patients.

Algomed CEO and Montreal-based physician Dr. Adam Hofmann told CTV News they see an opportunity to expand its nurse and nurse practitioner-led clinics here in the Maritimes.

The private health company's Dartmouth clinic is located at 800 Windmill Rd. It comes with a $22 monthly membership fee and charges patients $20 per visit. Top Stories

CBC says it is cutting 600 jobs, some programming as it slashes budget

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada will eliminate about 600 jobs and not fill an additional 200 vacancies. The cuts at CBC come days after the Liberal government suggested it may cap the amount of money CBC and Radio-Canada could get under a $100 million deal Ottawa recently signed with Google.

Stay Connected