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REGINA: The CUPE Health Care Council supports the Commission on Medicares blueprint for improving our public health care system.

Commisisoner Fykes report aims the province in the right direction, says Steve Foley, President of the CUPE Health Care Council, adding it reflects many of the unions recommendations to the Commission.

The CUPE Health Care Council, which bargains on behalf of 14,000 health workers in province, is particularly pleased the Commission is recommending a new community clinic model of health care delivery based on a multi-disciplinary team approach.

The Primary Health Service Teams proposed by the Fyke Commission will replace our doctor-driven system with a team of health care providers where all health care workers are used to their full potential. This is an extremely important development, one our members have been wanting for a long time, Foley says.

The union expects the Commissions emphasis on quality control and its recommendation to allow health districts to contract physicians will mean physicians will be placed on salary. If quality-control is the guiding principle, then fee-for-service payment has to go, says Foley, adding the community clinic model also features salaried physicians.

The union is relieved Commissioner Fyke embraced the five principles of Medicare and rejected the implementation of user fees and health care premiums. But its disappointed the Commission didnt call for a publicly-owned and administered Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system.

We shouldnt allow private businesses to profit from medical emergencies, says Foley. Private ambulance companies have no place in our public health system.

The union however, does support the concept of blended positions in EMS to make better use of employees and their skills.

The CUPE Health Care Council also is concerned about the Commissions proposal for self-managed care in home care. We have no problem with the concept of self-managed care, but home care services must be delivered through the public health system, he says.

The union supports the Commissions recommendation for fewer health care districts, stating it will make the system more efficient.

But the Council insists a labour adjustment strategy must be in place before the new structure is implemented. A recent report to the government by Allen Backman made a similar recommendation.

The well-being of health care workers must be the first priority, says Foley. The Commission acknowledges there is no surplus of staff in the health system, so we want to make sure no one is out of work because of these reforms.

The CUPE Health Care Council wants the government to act quickly to establish a representative transition team to implement the recommendations in the report. We dont want more consultation or studies. The Fyke Commission has provided the plan to improve our health care system. Implement it, Foley says.

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For more information call Steve Foley at 525-5874, extension 227