Nova Scotia's health minister says they're fully committed to a public health-care system, but believes there is room for public-private partnerships.
Michelle Thompson's comments come after Premier Tim Houston said earlier this month that any private option would be integrated within the public system, adding he has no interest in residents using anything other than their MSI cards to obtain services.
Thompson told CityNews Halifax any use of private providers is aimed at helping Nova Scotians get the care they need more quickly.
"We've seen that, as an example, with Scotia Surgery," she said. "We want to look at how we can leverage assets in our community that we can use to support Nova Scotians in getting the care they need. But there would be no preferential treatment, there would be universal access to that care and it would be publicly funded."
There have been concerns over the introduction of private clinics with some worried the quality of care in the province would decline as a result.
But Thompson said they would make sure that wouldn't happen.
"We would not lower the standard of what the expectation was, so just because we have standards of care in our publicly funded system, we would expect that any partnership that we entered would ensure that those standards are adhered to," she said.
Thompson said there is no timeline, adding they first need to make sure they maximize the capacity that they have in their publicly funded system.