But one year later, surgical data for the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region show that is not what happened.
The most recent information available on the government's surgical website shows 20,452 surgeries were performed in the health region between September 2010 and July 2011, while 20,463 surgeries were done over the same period a year before.
The data also suggest the use of private surgical clinics has harmed the capacity of the public health system. The region's hospitals performed 576 fewer surgeries in the 11 months after Omni Surgery Centre began operations. Omni performed a total of 565 surgeries over the same period.
"Instead of expanding surgical capacity, the region has transferred the surgical work to the private sector," said Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council, which represents health care providers in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region.
Instead of paying more to profit-clinics for fewer surgeries, Campbell said the government and health region should restore funding for the public day surgery centre in Regina. The Saskatchewan government postponed funding for the $14 million centre in 2009, when it announced plans to invest in private for-profit clinics.