JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Gov’t Plan to Contract Out Children’s Surgeries Will Worsen Staffing Shortages

Two of the unions representing thousands of health care workers are joining voices in strong opposition to a recently announced plan to contract out public health services for Nova Scotian children.

While unions recognize the need to address a backlog created by COVID, there are many unanswered questions about how this plan will be implemented, specifically regarding staffing and the long-term impact on publicly funded, publicly delivered care.

“There isn’t a single person who would argue against a plan to provide care in a timely manner, especially where children are involved, but I have yet to hear how government plans to staff the clinic given the staffing shortages we are facing in the public sector,” says Janet Hazelton, President of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union (NSNU).

This government has previously acknowledged a dire shortage of health care workers and nurses in the public health care system. This raises an obvious question: how will Scotia Surgery staff their clinic without pulling desperately needed health care workers from all sectors, including acute, long-term and community care?

Building and maintaining capacity in the public system is crucial. This band-aid solution is not the answer. Our finite resources are better deployed in the public system, and this decision will further exacerbate staffing shortages.

Moreover, Premier Tim Houston campaigned on a promise to fix our public health care system, not privatize it.

“There was not a single mention in the PC campaign platform about contracting out health care to private companies,” says Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU), “It is shameful to see this PC government strategically privatize health care services during a global pandemic.”

Our government should be investing money in recruiting medical professionals into the public system, rather than creating profit for private companies like Scotia Surgery.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) represents hundreds of health care and support staff at the IWK, while the Nova Scotia Nurses Union (NSNU) represents over 1,000 Registered Nurses at the facility.


Media Contacts:

Coleen Logan, Communications Officer, NSNU 902-430-6169
Holly Fraughton, Communications Officer, NSGEU 902-471-1781


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