Fixing Health Care ≠ Privatization

On February 23rd, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nova Scotia announced they had reached an agreement in principle for a shared plan that will invest $4.81 billion in federal funding over 10 years in Nova Scotia, including $1.01 billion for a new bilateral agreement focusing on the shared health care priorities and $52 million through the immediate, one-time Canada Health Transfer top-up to address urgent needs, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries.

As the union representing thousands of skilled health care workers in Nova Scotia, as well as thousands more who rely on the critical services they deliver, we are pleased that our Provincial government will have additional funding available to them to help address the ongoing crisis in our healthcare system.

However, it is imperative that those funds be used to strengthen and improve upon our public system, rather than be siphoned off to private companies.

Premier Tim Houston campaigned on fixing health care, not contracting it out. Since his election in the fall of 2021, he has taken steps towards addressing many longstanding and neglected areas of the healthcare system. But far too often, he has decided to rely on the private sector, rather than build capacity within the public system.

Recent examples of this include:
• $6 million to Praxes to operate mobile health clinics;
• $5 million per year for cataract surgeries performed at Halifax Vision Surgical Centre;
• $365 million to Oracle Cerner Canada to implement digital health records;
• $10.4 million to Telus to deliver virtual counselling services over five years;
• $3.25 million to Maple to deliver two virtual care programs.

In each of these instances, private industry will profit from delivering necessary care which should be delivered through the public system. As always, the NSGEU stands in opposition to increased privatization of our public health care system and calls on the Houston government to focus on investing public funds in strengthening and improving capacity within the public sector, rather than handing off responsibility to deliver care to private interests who stand to profit from the further erosion of the public system.

Our national union, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), has recently undertaken a polling and research project to get a sense of where Nova Scotians and Canadians stand of the issue of privatization. Some of the highlights of their findings are in the following article.

*This article appeared in the spring edition of The Union Stand.

Related Articles

Start typing and press Enter to search