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BC considering offering 'surgical tourism': Sask. health minister

After news broke last week that British Columbia offered 400 surgery spaces to people from Saskatchewan, Health Minister Kevin Falcon declined to say to what other jurisdictions B.C. is negotiating selling services.

But his Saskatchewan counterpart, Don McMorris, today provided some insight. “They're looking at, for lack of a better word, surgical tourism,” he told reporters in a scrum, a recording of which was provided to the Tyee.

“They're looking at inviting people from all over, not just Saskatchewan, but from down in the States if they need a procedure done that they can accommodate,” he said. “People coming up to British Columbia, spending some time in British Columbia and being able to get a procedure.”

Falcon mentioned during question period in the legislature last week that B.C. was talking with other jurisdictions besides Saskatchewan, but provided no further details when asked about it in the hallway.

“I don't want to, actually, I shouldn't say that,” he said on Oct. 29. “I don't want to speculate on other jurisdictions except to know that we've had lots of interest in what we've been doing in the surgical innovation side in British Columbia.”

Falcon is looking at selling B.C. surgeries to the highest bidder, said New Democratic Party health critic Adrian Dix. “I think the people here deserve better than that,” he said. “We paid for these services, people in B.C. paid for these services. It's not just disrespectful, but probably a violation of the law.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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