Public Values

SK CT scans contracted out despite underused public scanners

32-month contract signed even though public delivery more cost-effective.

To Gordon Campbell, private CT scan contracts in the region are a terrible waste of resources.Regina, ON (January 14, 2011): Why is the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region contracting out CT scans when wait times are dropping and the region's existing CT scanners are woefully underutilized?

Those are just two questions the CUPE Health Care Council wants answered after learning the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region signed a multi-year deal with another private clinic to provide CT services for the region.

Last June, the health region claimed the three CT scanners operating in Regina's hospitals were running at "maximum capacity seven days a week." In a recent release, the health region noted the three CT scanners were "available" 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

  "Since it is more cost-effective to deliver these services in the public system, then that is what the health region should be doing."

In fact, Regina's three hospital CT scanners only operate at full capacity during regular business hours from Monday to Friday. Two CT scanners operate in the evening and on weekends, but only on an emergency basis. The third sits idle.

"The health region's CT scanners are woefully underutilized. It's a terrible waste of resources," says Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council.

The union also questioned why the health region signed a 32-month contract with Radiology Associates of Regina to perform an additional 42,500 CT scans when CT wait list numbers are declining.

When the health region issued its request for proposals to provide CT services last year, it estimated its CT wait list in March 2010 exceeded 1,100 patients. In the mid-January release, the region said that in October 2010, there were 737 patients on the CT wait list — a drop of more than 30 percent in seven months. The region performs 74,000 CT scans a year.

"Everyone agrees we need to reduce wait times," says CUPE staff representative Suzanne Posyniak. "But given that a recent arbitration award concluded it is more cost-effective to deliver these services in the public system, then that is what the health region should be doing."

Links and sources
  No justification for contracting out Regina CT scans

Posted: January 28, 2011

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