Concerns are being raised about a section of Bill 60 that proposes to give private clinics expanded powers.
The opposition says the section also allows anyone not properly trained to become a health care worker.
NDP critic Frances Gelinas shutters at what it means for patients.
“Well, it means that a physician working in a for-profit surgical suite could, very well, hire his mother-in-law hairdresser, bring her into his office and call her a nurse. That hairdresser that he will call the nurse could start your IV, could put a catheter in, could give you narcotics, could do a whole bunch of restricted acts under the license of the physician, be called a nurse when this person is not a nurse, has never gone to a nursing school, has never written a nursing exam, and has never belonged to the College of Nurses,” says Gelinas.
Executive Director Natalie Mehra calls it shocking deregulation.
“What they’ve done is deregulate all of those professions and said that they’ll leave it to regulations to prescribe, who could call themselves a surgeon, who can call themselves a physician, who can call themselves an x-ray technologist, who can provide x-rays and other radiating procedures, who can call themselves a laboratory technologist,” says Mehra.
“We’re all just staggered by this. Why would you sneak into a bill the full deregulation of a very significant range of health professionals, including doctors and surgeons, in the middle of a bill that privatizes core public hospital services?”
The province suggests the changes are necessary to allow medical professionals trained elsewhere in Canada to work in Ontario.
Gelinas says the wording of the proposed bill brings into question the trust patients will have in the health care services they receive.
“What if the nurse that you think is a nurse who’s about to start an IV is not a nurse? What if the nurse, who’s about to tell you to take medications that you don’t know, dispenses this medication to you is not a nurse? What if he’s not a doctor? The minute you bring doubts into the healthcare system, you affect the healthcare system.”
The bill is now before the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
It plans to hold a series of public hearings beginning March 20.