HEALTH Minister Adrian Dix on Thursday said he was pleased by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision regarding Cambie Surgeries Corporation’s application for leave to appeal.
Dix said in a statement: “I wish to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the legal team, ministry personnel, co-respondents, and the numerous witnesses and advocates for public health care who have dedicated their efforts to this case.
“Today’s decision affirms our ongoing efforts to preserve and uphold our public health-care system, and confirms the legal arguments heard at the B.C. Supreme Court and the B.C. Court of Appeal. It sends a strong message that our nation’s highest court supports the principles of universal health care where access to medical care is determined by a patient’s needs, not their ability to pay their way to the front of the line.
“The decision rendered today bolsters our public health-care system and reaffirms the shared values that bind us as Canadians who deserve fair and equitable access to the public health-care system.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to uphold the Medicare Protection Act, which is in place preserve our publicly administered health-care system in British Columbia. In 2018, we strengthened the act to include new protections for patients to prevent extra billing, clarify the rules for medical practitioners and establish consequences for those who break the rules.
“By strengthening the act, the Medical Services Commission is provided additional powers to act decisively against those who disregard the rules and pose a threat to our public health-care system, ensuring the best interests of patients are prioritized and safeguarded.
“Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, our government’s investments in public health care continues to yield results. The Canadian Institute of Health Information’s latest report highlights the outstanding progress we have made in providing timely surgeries for the people of British Columbia.
“Our commitment to surgical renewal remains unwavering. As of March 2, 2023, we have performed surgeries for over 99% of patients whose procedures were postponed during the pandemic’s various waves. We continue to make exceptional progress, performing more surgeries than ever before, and B.C. now ranks first nationally for the percentage of patients meeting clinical benchmarks for cataract surgeries and second for both hip and knee replacements.
“As we celebrate the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision, we will continue increasing operating room time and capacity, expanding training opportunities and bringing more private clinics under public control to ensure all people in B.C. receive the care they need, when they need it most.”