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(Truro) – The president of CUPE Nova Scotia, Danny Cavanagh, says he believes the McNeil government should move very cautiously with any kind of health care amalgamations.

“The downsizing of administration that was already taking place with the previous government was working. That was a good thing. It saved money and should continue,” says Cavanagh.
“Any moves to merge District Health Authorities, eliminate front line services or privatize services will be detrimental to the system.  We respectfully ask the health minister to sit down with the unions representing workers in the system before heading down the risky path of amalgamation,” he says.

CUPE Acute Care Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas, who bargains on behalf of more than 3,700 hospital workers in Nova Scotia, says, “Data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information suggests that health authority mergers in other provinces did not result in administrative savings.

“In fact,” says Thomas, “in Alberta, after they moved to a superboard model their administrative costs actually went up. In nearby New Brunswick, meanwhile, they moved to two boards and are currently in the middle of huge layoffs of frontline staff.” Adds Cavanagh, “Nova Scotia’s health spending actually dropped a bit over the last 18 months because of cuts in administration. We also need to continue with the highly-successful Collaborative Emergency Centres model that’s now being copied by other provinces, as well as bulk buying which has also lowered costs and increased services to the public.”