“Once again this premier is announcing critical decisions that impact Albertans while he is out of the public limelight.” ― Mike Parker, HSAA President
Calgary (2 Dec 2019) ― As members of the United Conservative Party (UCP) gathered in Calgary last weekend for their annual general meeting, Jason Kenney broke his promise not to compromise front-line public health-care services in Alberta.
Union warnings of privatization become reality
The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) has been served notice by Alberta Precision Labs (formerly Alberta Public Labs) that it is seeking interest from private third-parties to take over parts of lab services in Alberta. This could affect 850 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs). The current government also intends to consider privatizing emergency, non-emergency and hospital transfer ambulance services. Alberta Health Services was unable to provide HSAA/NUPGE with a potential job loss calculation. Connect Care will continue to be rolled out resulting in the loss of 70 FTEs. There is also a plan to implement so-called “best practices” and eliminate another 100 FTEs.
A shift to privatization diminishes the quality of care people receive
With many health-care professionals already working part time, these moves will result in well over 1,000 dedicated and highly-trained health-care professionals being taken off the frontlines. (Note: this number does not include impacts to Emergency Medical Services or similar cuts affecting nurses and other hospital staff.)
“Dumping such dramatic shifts to our public health-care system while the premier is hunkered down with his party faithful, shows once again just what kind of an underhanded coward the current premier is,” says HSAA President, Mike Parker. “Once again this premier is announcing critical decisions that impact Albertans while he is out of the public limelight.” Parker noted that the premier is on the eve of his party’s annual convention and said, “This time, he is making moves that will put the lives and well-being of Albertans at risk.”
Government putting profit before patients
“70% of treatment decisions made by doctors rely on accurate lab results. A shift to privatization diminishes the quality of care people receive,” Parker went on to say, “Everyone knows a syringe for drawing blood costs the same in a public system as it does in a private one. The difference is private contracts include an additional budget line…profit.”
By announcing these moves, the current government has decided profits are more important than vulnerable Albertans. This government should be listening to the experts in health care who know the impacts cuts and privatization have on patients. We need to ensure good quality PUBLIC health care is available for everyone. We can only achieve this if we say no to privatization and cuts.
Health Matters to all of us. Let’s not put it at risk. Let’s make it better.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE