box10.gif (1299 bytes)








Calgary group suffers setback in UK

A consortium that includes the University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region has lost a contract to do surgeries for profit in England after the British government decided the deal was too expensive.

In mid-April, the department of health deselected Calgary-based Anglo-Canadian for the job of providing 30,000 orthopedic and general surgeries a year at three London hospitals.

The collapse of negotiations is unfortunate news for the U of C. Dr. Grant Gall, dean of the faculty of medicine, said the university loses not only the chance to make money but can’t recruit the hoped-for “farm team” of 25 to 30 experts it would have needed to perform the surgeries. Those people would eventually have been offered positions in Calgary and would have helped replace doctors planning to retire in the next decade.

“This was an opportunity to showcase what we do in other parts of the world,” Dr. Gall told the Calgary Herald.

“We were asked by the Ministry of Health (to bid) because they were so excited by the things that were going on in Calgary.”

If the contract had gone ahead, the Calgary Health Region would have earned income by offering advice on administration, planning and the design of buildings in England. The amount of money had not been agreed upon.

Anglo-Canadian had been chosen last September as the preferred bidder to provide certain surgical procedures, as part of a move to increase the number of operations conducted in the UK by bringing in foreign suppliers of medical services.

But Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft hailed the end of the deal Friday, saying it shows contracting out medical services to private companies is more expensive than the public system.

“The rejection of Anglo-Canadian clinics by the British should be a wake-up call to people promoting private health care here in Alberta,” said Taft.

Taft said the deal would have seen some health professionals transferred from Calgary to Britain, but Gall said this city would not have lost any. Along with the CHR and the U of C, Anglo-Canadian includes five private companies, including Surgical Centres Inc., which runs private surgery clinics in Alberta and British Columbia, and Accommodata Ltd., a housing company.