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Flack defends reported plan to fix surgery backlog

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Elgin Middlesex London MPP Rob Flack is defending the province’s plan to tackle surgery backlogs.

“The backlog is not fair to the people of this province,” Flack told CTV News.

He made the comments as the Ford government comes under fire after sources revealed the government is planning to expand surgeries performed in private facilities.

In November, Ontario Health's chief medical director Dr. Chris Simpson said the province-wide surgical backlog stood at 250,000 surgeries.

Reports say the government’s plan would move some less complex surgeries and diagnostic testing from the public system into private facilities.

“We have to do things differently because we are backlogged,” said Flack. “And finding innovative new and creative solutions that work makes sense,” he added.

But critics say the backlog began long before the pandemic, and the London is region no different that other major medical centres with what they describe as resources going to the private sector that would otherwise remain in the public system.

“The longer the wait list grows for the public side of it because the private one is siphoning all the resources,” said Peter Bergmanis, of the health care watchdog, the Ontario Health Coalition.

Bergmanis called it a “breaking of the faith,” when it comes to keeping health care public. “We’ve got clinics in this town that have been doing this prior to the pandemic as well. And they changed nothing, as far as the public wait times. In fact, they exacerbate them because the same surgeons are being pulled out of the public system.”

Flack said innovative solutions are necessary, and repeated the premier’s pledge on the matter. “I can make you this guarantee, come right from the premier, that no-one will have to use their credit card to pay for health care.”

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