The Canadian Medical Association’s position paper on the Hall report is unequivocal about this: proposed restrictions on the patient’s right to retain the advice and services of a physician of his or her choice would help to transform the MD from an independent provider of health care into, in effect, “a government-retained dependent contractor – a de facto civil servant”.
But Dr. Augustin Roy, president of the Corporation of Physicians and Surgeons of Quebec, sees things quite differently. Just because Hall wants to do away with extra billing, says Roy, doesn’t necessarily mean that if he gets his way doctors will become state employees. “That is only true if you have defined work hours and someone to report to.”
Yet surely the point is that the more the medical profession’s freedoms are removed, the more governments pick them up. As CMA President Dr. Bill Thomas has observed, the control of health care, the number of doctors produced in Canada, the number allowed to immigrate here, and the qualifications and education required to obtain a licence to practise medicine are all controlled by government now. . . The question isn’t whether Canada’s physicians will become de facto civil servants, but how they can withstand government’s constant chipping away at professional freedom, which will eventually give MDs no control over their collective destiny.
Woods D. Physicians as civil servants. Can Med Assoc J. 1980 Nov 22;123(10):959.