Dear Home Support Members:
Last week, we received notice from the Department of Health and Wellness that they plan to continue to try and work with all current home care providers, though they will not rule out the possibility of tendering out and further privatizing the service at a later date.
Here is a copy of the statement they sent to the relevant agencies:
“Last December the Department of Health and Wellness, with the involvement of external procurement consultants and Nova Scotia Health Authority, began exploring options that would ensure quality and create more consistent, efficient, flexible and sustainable home care services for Nova Scotians. One of the options explored was a tendering process for home care services. On May 13th, Deputy Minister Dr. Peter Vaughan addressed governments’ plans to tender home care services at the Public Accounts Committee of the legislature. You can watch his appearance at: http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/ committees/committee_hansard/C7/.
During the discovery work, it became clear that further opportunities to work with our current home care providers could be explored. As a result, the Department, together with Nova Scotia Health Authority, will move forward with the current providers with the goal of implementing performance based contracts to achieve a number of health system objectives and improvements. Depending on the outcome of this initiative, home care services may still need to be tendered for some, or all, regions in the province.
The Deputy Minister was clear that the status quo is not an option. We need to improve access and the quality of care, increase efficiencies and control costs. In the coming months, the Department plans to consult with representatives from the home care sector to obtain feedback on a number of policies, processes, and performance measures that will improve and support the sustainable delivery of home care services.”
You’re probably wondering what this means for you, the workers who deliver this valuable service.
It clearly means that our fight is not over!
Though it may seem that government is backing down from further contracting out to for-profit companies, the threat still exists. They are also encouraging your employers to do whatever it takes to clear their wait lists, even if that means enlisting the services of private contract agencies.
So in effect, they are sanctioning the use of for-profit companies, rather than investing in strengthening the service or dealing with the serious underlying scheduling issues that have contributed significantly to the existing wait lists.
This is unacceptable and poses a very real threat to your future job security.
We need you to help keep the pressure on! Over the summer months, you may run into your local MLA at community events: use that opportunity to remind them of your concern for your clients, the quality of the service, and the terms and conditions of your employment. Speak to your friends, neighbours and family members about what has been happening over the past few months, and ask them to speak to their local politicians, as well!
It is absolutely crucial that we keep this issue alive and in the public eye.
We will keep you updated throughout the process as it unfolds, so please keep an eye on your email and share information with your coworkers.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you, once again, for your tireless efforts and activism to ensure home support in Nova Scotia is protected.