CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says the announcement on the six areas where so-called ‘shared services’ will be examined in the province’s health care system spells bad news for patients as well as workers.
Says Cavanagh, “We are quite concerned that this initiative could have a dramatic impact on the workforce in acute care and the vital services they provide. When we see a government using terms such as ‘alternate service delivery’, it raises the threat of privatization and contracting out of services and jobs.”
“We represent 4,600 women and men who work in the District Health Authorities (DHAs), and every single one of these health care workers are important to the system,” says Cavanagh.
“If the provincial government is serious about getting a handle on health care costs they should be looking at the fee for service model that we use to pay physicians and the spiraling cost of drugs. These are the two biggest ticket items in our system,” he says.
CUPE Acute Care Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas says, “Nova Scotians are smart enough to figure out that those savings can only come from one of two places - staffing cuts or service reductions. Patient care is dependent on every employee in a hospital regardless of what classification they hold.”
Says Thomas, “We caution the Dexter Government that CUPE will oppose any service that is handed over to the private sector. This cannot simply be an exercise in cutting costs. We can never ignore the importance of quality and reliability of the system.”