If private is better, health board has nothing to fear from real competition
EDMONTON – The union representing lab workers at Covenant Health care is calling foul over the privatization of lab services, and the fact that public entities are being pushed aside in the process to develop central lab facilities.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has informed its employees and employees at Covenant Health that they will request proposals to bring all medical lab services in Edmonton under one private operation.
CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts believes publicly run labs can operate more affordably and efficiently than privately owned labs while being more accountable to taxpayers and patients.
“Due to lack of infrastructure funding, the government has eliminated public services from participating in the Request for Proposals (RFP) process,” said Roberts. “We’ve seen this story repeatedly – in a fair process, public beats private every time.”
Roberts pointed to recently raised concerns with AHS tendering for home care services, where resident needs were not considered and contract decisions had to be reversed.
“AHS has proven it can’t represent the interests of patients in awarding contracts,” said Roberts. “It should not be privatizing anything, especially before it gets its own house in order.”
Roberts said it was very telling that Covenant Health memos to staff admitted that the privatization process would not save money.