Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Ban medical tourism: RNAO speaks out for medicare

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As Canadians, we value our publicly funded, not-for-profit health system, where everyone is given equal access to care. To protect this system, RNAO stands at the forefront of a movement to ban a profit-driven practice that threatens the foundation of medicare.

A number of Toronto-area hospitals have been engaging in medical tourism – raising millions of dollars by actively seeking and treating international patients on a pay-for-care basis. RNAO worries this represents a shift to for-profit health care, creating a system where those who pay access care ahead of others.

RNAO has reached out to politicians, the media, and called for action from its membership. Our message is clear: the government must immediately ban medical tourism in order to protect and strengthen our public health system.

Examples of medical tourism

University Hospital Network (UHN) - International Patient Program

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre - International Patients Program

RNAO political action

Joint letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne on medical tourism, April 11, 2014

Open letter: Strengthen Ontario’s health system by immediately banning medical tourism and rejecting for-profit plasma collection, July 4, 2014

Open letter to Minister Eric Hoskins: Ban medical tourism, August 18, 2014

Media coverage

Ontario’s health-care system should serve need, not greed – Doris Grinspun, Toronto Star, April 1, 2013

Toronto hospital courts wealthy ‘medical tourists’ – Kelly Grant, The Globe and Mail, April 1, 2014

Chipping Away at MedicareToronto Star, April 4, 2014

Medical tourism: the beginning of the end of Medicare – Doris Grinspun, Registered Nurse Journal, May/June 2014

Nursing association calls for ban on inbound medical tourismInternational Medical Travel Journal – July 23, 2014

Medical tourism ‘inviting a lawsuit’ – Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, Aug. 5, 2014

Ontario hospitals urged to stop pursuing ‘medical tourists’ – Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun, Aug. 21, 2014

Medicare advocates decry medical tourismCanadian Medical Association Journal, Aug. 21, 2014

Media releases

Health groups urge Premier Wynne to stop medical tourism, April 16, 2014

Immediately ban medical tourism and reject for-profit plasma collection: Open letter from Ontario's RNs to Premier Kathleen Wynne, July 4, 2014

Open letter from Ontario's RNs, health centres and midwives calls on Minister of Health Eric Hoskins to immediately ban medical tourism, Aug. 20, 2014

Other resources

International patients: what care can’t be bought at the hospital - Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Jan. 7, 2013