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REGINA: CUPE is alarmed by Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region’s aggressive privatization initiatives.

“Where is the investment in building a quality public health care system?” said Gordon Campbell, President of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Health Care Council. “Evidence from Canada and around the world demonstrates that private health care lengthens wait lists, drives up costs and funnels public finances into the hands of private shareholders.”

“This decision rewards multi-national for-profit corporations, like Aspen Medical and the Radiologists of Regina, who both donate generously to the Sask. Party,” added Campbell. “We are concerned about what this will mean for patient care and quality and for the future of public health care.”

“We need to keep the solutions public,” said Gloria Fingas, an LPN and Vice-President of CUPE Local 3967, who represents workers in the health region. “The long-promised public Plains Day Surgery Centre in Regina would do far more to expand surgical capacity than the use of for-profit surgical clinics.”

The innovative public Plains Surgery and Outpatient Care Centre was expected to handle 7,000 outpatient procedures annually by 2011. Plans for the free-standing centre, announced by the former NDP government in the spring of 2007, also include an expanded pre-admission clinic and a new diagnostic imaging centre with MRIs, CT scanners, ultrasound and X-ray equipment.

CUPE is calling for a halt to contracting out and a renewed funding commitment to the public Plains Surgery and Outpatient Care Centre.