Open letter opposing private, user-pay MRIs

Since elected in 2007, Brad Wall has been slowly chipping away at public health care.

From privatizing hospital laundry to contracting out day surgeries to new public-private partnerships for infrastructure, what we are seeing is a sell-off of our most valued public service. Our province was a leader in creating public Medicare, but our provincial government is turning its back on this legacy.

Now, the Government of Saskatchewan has introduced legislation to create a pay-per-use MRI service where people with deep pocket books can pay for priority treatment and move ahead of the queue.

We, the undersigned, are concerned that private pay-for MRIs undermine the accessibility criterion of the Canada Health Act, which states that “access to medically necessary services should be based on need – not on means – and on uniform terms and conditions.”

In addition, private MRI clinics are not a proven method for reducing wait times. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Saskatchewan posted typical waiting times for MRIs at 28 days. Whereas in Alberta, even with pay-for-service private clinics, typical wait times for an MRI scan are 80 days.

Furthermore, evidence shows that parallel private health care systems fragment service, over-treat affluent patients, and drain public health resources, making care less efficient and increasing wait times across the board.

We join together to ask Brad Wall and the Government of Saskatchewan to show leadership in improving access and appropriate use of medical imaging within the public system, including investment in public infrastructure and delivery of medical imaging technology.

To add your name to this open letter, please email Theresa Schneider at with your name, title and organization affiliations.

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