Dr. Dayton Campbell
Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Dayton Campbell has strongly criticised the government's plan to pay for surgeries done privately for patients who are part of the public health care service.
This is part of a broader plan to use $1 billion to fast track the provision of diagnostic tests and surgeries in the public health sector.
Dr. Tufton recently announced that, where a service cannot be accessed at a public health facility, the government will pay for patients to access those tests and surgeries privately in a bid to reduce waiting times.
Dr. Campbell, responding Tuesday during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate, declared that, while he has no issue with patients accessing diagnostic tests at private facilities, he has questions about using contractors to do surgeries.
He described it as a divestment of health care with the potential to be exploited by a few.
"There are ethical concerns. The question is, will the same doctors in the public sector be the ones to do the surgeries in the public private partnership? How do we ensure that the people are not channelling the hospital work into their private practices? How will the post-operation care be carried out? When these surgeries are done, will these patients be sent to the public ward?" he questioned.
Dr. Campbell also questioned what incentives doctors would have to work in the public system if they can get higher rates in the private sector.
He suggested instead that the government should invest the money in improving public facilities.
"If this billion dollars is available, why can't it be used to improve specific surgical centres in the public system to carryout these surgeries? At most of our major hospitals with multiple operating threatres, at night, only one threatre is used. Why don't we get the additional staff to ensure that one team is dealing with on-call and another team is dealing with the cases to reduce the waiting list?" he reasoned.