Earlier, we exclusively told you Margaret MacDiarmid is seeking the provincial Liberal nomination in Vancouver-Fairview - a bid that will pit her against Rick Peterson. The fact she was formerly president of the British Columbia Medical Association should make her a shoe-in for that nomination. But her candidacy won't be without controversy. The reason: in August 2005, while reporting on the Canadian Medical Association's annual general meeting, the Edmonton Journal's Susan Ruttan quoted Dr. MacDiarmid as telling delegates that rejecting private healthcare would be, "closing the door to exploring new options for meeting some of those many shocking unmet needs." This, in response to a proposed and, ultimately, unsuccessful motion asking association members to reject such options and seek wait time solutions within the public healthcare system.
And that's not only time she's made statements in apparent support of changes to the way healthcare is delivered in this country. In 2007, while commenting on the Mainland Medical and Laser Clinic's controversial plan to introduce an annual membership fee for patients, Dr. MacDiarmid told The Vancouver Sun's Pamela Fayerman, she didn't think those charges would block access to doctors. "The fee is for those who want their appointment at say, 12:10 p.m. It is optional. I think the cost of running practices in urban centres is really getting high and this is one of the difficulties but I don't see a proliferation of practices charging annual fees. I don't know what the future holds but I know patients know the value of a family doctor is enormous."
The clinic's medical director Brian Montgomery subsequently told the Canadian Press's Camille Bains he had "deferred" his plan to introduce membership fees at Mainland - which would have cost $35 for seniors, $75 for individuals and $125 for families. Those who aren't members would have had to pay a $30 reservation to see one of the clinic's doctors.