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(SASKATOON) Dr. Allyson Pollock, a British expert on the funding and delivery of health care services, will brief the Romanow Commission today. A day after the release of the commissions interim report, Dr. Pollock will deliver the message that Canada must reject increased privatization if it wishes to avoid the problems that plague the British health care system.

If Canadians want to retain universal health care, then they must not go down the road of public-private partnerships (PPPs), said Dr. Pollock. A decade after Britain began to introduce PPPs, we have now seen a massive reduction in the quality of and access to health care services, including a 30 per cent reduction in the number of hospital beds and a 25 per cent reduction in clinical staffing budgets. This is directly linked to the introduction of privatization into the health care system.

Dr. Pollock will also address the myth that PPPs are a more cost effective way to deliver health care services, and she will speak to the impact of private financing on communities and health care workers.

Mr. Romanow said yesterday that there is a consensus among Canadians that universal health care is desirable. Simply put, in Britain privatization has marked the death of universality, and Canadians are right to be asking questions about the wisdom of adopting our faulty model here, she said.

Dr. Pollock will be joined in her technical briefing by Professor John Loxley, an economist at the University of Manitoba who has examined the increased costs that flow from private delivery of public services, Steven Shrybman, a lawyer specializing in the impact of trade agreements on public services, and by Stan Marshall, a senior CUPE researcher specializing in health care.

Dr. Pollock is a medical doctor, a Professor and Head of the Health Services and Health Policy Research Unit at the University College of London, and the Director of Research and Development at the University College Hospitals Trust in London, England.

She will remain in Canada through Saturday, February 9 traveling from Saskatoon to British Columbia where she will address the threat to public health care posed by private hospitals proposed for that province.


For more information and for interview availability:

Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications, office: (613) 237-1590, ext. 118, or cellular: (416) 738-4329