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New, private surgery clinic emerges in British Columbia

A new $5 million “private-pay” surgical centre has opened for business in Abbotsford, B.C., offering three operating rooms and the latest in technological medical equipment.

While the centre has received some criticism by opponents of privately delivered healthcare, clinic owner Dr. John Blaylock told the Abbotsford News that the public system is failing patients by requiring excessively long surgical wait times.

It’s the failure of Canada’s healthcare system that is driving the need for “consumer-driven” medical care, Dr. Blaylock said.

On the other hand, critics say the growing number of private-pay surgical centres in B.C. is an alarming trend because it fosters a two-tier healthcare system where only the affluent will be able to afford timely surgeries.

The other problem, said NDP health critic David Cubberley, is that highly skilled doctors and nurses are being drawn to private clinics, thereby weakening the public system even further.

For his part, Dr. Blaylock said it’s important to note that the centre is fulfilling an important medical need.

“Patients who can afford to pay for their own surgery are going to find this an attractive alternative to the long, unacceptable surgical waits lists in the public healthcare system,” he said.

The new 7,000-square-foot Blaylock Surgical Centre and Valley Laser Eye Centre is said to provide superior equipment, ambience and comfort.

A team of about 30 surgeons will be available at the centre on a part-time basis to perform various general surgeries, hernia repairs, cataract, orthopedic, dental and plastic surgeries, Dr. Blaylock said.

In addition to the team of part-time surgeons, the centre will have a permanent staff of about 12 people, including an anesthesiologist, an OR technician, registered nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Dr. Blaylock envisions the facility will expand to perform hip and knee surgeries in the near future.