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Winnipeg clinic now offering diagnostic tests for a fee

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Winnipeg clinic now offering diagnostic tests for a fee
WATCH: If you don't mind paying for your diagnostic test, you may now have an alternative to long wait times in Manitoba. Global's Amber McGuckin reports – Dec 29, 2017

Wait or open your wallet – a Manitoba clinic has started offering some diagnostic testing at a cost. Prota Clinic is offering echocardiograms and ultrasound testing at its Winnipeg clinic near Linden Woods.

Currently in Manitoba, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the average wait time for an ultrasound is 10 weeks. The wait for an echocardiogram is 39 weeks – that’s about 10 months.

At the Proto Clinic, you can get the appointment in a matter of days.

“If you are able to alleviate some of the waits, then everybody benefits,” clinic co-founder Dr. Dimitrios Balageorge said.

“If you are able to have people step out of that line then people who are staying in that line will hopefully be able to get their scans sooner so they benefit, and this comes at no additional costs to the system.”

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As for concerns about a two-tiered system and how fee-for-service clinics are even allowed to operate, a spokesperson for the province said the clinic isn’t breaking any rules by offering ultrasounds and echocardiograms in a private clinic to people wanting to pay. If people don’t want to pay they can join the wait list.

RELATED: Province announces new organizational structure to Manitoba health services

If you decide not to wait, an echocardiogram at Prota Clinic will cost around $650 while an ultrasound will set you back about $500.

The Manitoba General Employees Union says the service creates a health care divide between the rich and the poor.

“No Manitoba family, mother or father, should have to decide or choose whether its going to be paying the hydro, putting food on the table or having a life-saving test done for one of their children such as an ultrasound,” said union president Michelle Gawronsky.

When asked about the wait times, the WRHA said it started booking weekend hours at the Health Sciences Centre in December to cut down on the wait.

The health authority said it’s also looking at extending hours at the St. Boniface Hospital but no date has been set yet.

 

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