Portrait of the supply and demand for private health care services in Québec.
Quebec is one of the provinces in which private medicine has developed rapidly in recent years. This trend coincides with a large number of Quebecers being unable to find a family doctor and with lengthening wait times both for undergoing treatment after a diagnosis and for being seen by a doctor in a hospital emergency room. How many private clinics are there, and how many doctors have left the public system in Quebec? Why do patients resort to private medicine?
Portrait of the supply and demand for private health care services in Quebec.
Waiting lists for medical services in Canada are painfully long. Too many Canadians lack access to a family doctor, and our low ratio of medical specialists to population size is a growing cause of concern. Could this problem be partly solved by making better use of the supply of medical specialists’ work through mixed practice? To get an answer, the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) conducted a survey among medical specialists to find out if some of them might be willing to work extra hours in the private sector, beyond their commitment to the public system.
Demographic change is putting a heavy strain on Quebec’s public health care system. In particular, this is reflected in a greater need for nursing staff. Meanwhile, many nurses are opting to practise their profession with employment agencies and in the private sector, causing fears of a weakening of the public sector. The Montreal Economic Institute conducted an investigation among nurses to see if the labour supply is really being used to full capacity and whether some nurses would be willing to work extra hours in private practice.
As questions abound regarding management and resource use in the public health care system, it is important to evaluate the place the private sector could occupy. With this first Economic Note on the use of health care resources, the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) wishes to add some thoughts on the optimization of operating blocks in Quebec. A later Economic Note will look into the supply of human resources in the health care system.