Attack on public health services continues in Alberta | National Union of Public and General Employees

Attack on public health services continues in Alberta

'Albertans are witnessing a calculated, step-by-step plan by the Stelmach government to privatize public health care in Alberta.' - Elisabeth Ballermann.

Elisabeth Ballermann, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE)Calgary (26 Nov. 2009) - Transplant patients and those living with compromised immune systems, who require highly specialized treatment, are being cast out of the public health system and into the arms of for-profit pharmacies, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).

HSAA has learned that the Conservative government of Premier Ed Stelmach, through Alberta Health Services (AHS), is poised to abandon its responsibilities for outpatient pharmacy services at Alberta Children’s Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre and the planned South Health Campus. The latter facility is scheduled to open in late 2011.

"Albertans are witnessing a calculated, step-by-step plan by the Stelmach government to privatize public health care in Alberta," says HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann.

"Once again, the practice flies in the face of assertions by the minister that privatization is not on the agenda. Any private pharmacy operation will want to make a profit. So either Alberta Health Services is divesting itself of a revenue generating operation or we the citizens who need these services will pay more," she says.

"This looks like another in a long string of initiatives that will shift costs to individuals. It is understandable why this government’s image continues to take such a public bruising. It’s because they can’t be trusted."

AHS is expected to select a private operator by February 2010 - with a commencement date for takeover set for September 2010. In 2006, Rexall bid on, and was awarded, the contract to provide services for two outpatient pharmacies located in Edmonton hospitals.

A total of 23.2 full-time-equivalent (FTEs) positions will be impacted by AHS’s latest decision to privatize. Represented by HSAA, these health professionals specialize in pharmacy services for organ transplant, HIV/AIDS and pediatric outpatients.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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