CUPE Nova Scotia web banner. Images of 5 CUPE members at work, and the CUPE NS logo.CUPE Nova Scotia, representing approximately 11,000 health care workers across the province, is happy to see the provincial government making a tangible step toward improving our public health care system. These improvements, however, need to also be publicly operated. Underfunding, and recruitment and retention issues, have long put a strain on the system and the citizens of Nova Scotia have suffered as a result—giving money to private, for-profit companies is not the answer.

Large initiatives already created by the Houston government, such as the pharmacy clinics, virtual care, and the mental health support program, are funded by Nova Scotia Health, but staffed and operated by private companies. Rather than properly funding and staffing the already existing public system, the provincial government is giving money to profit-driven private companies who are not held to the same standards as their public counterparts.

“I’m happy to see they’re proposing some real investment into the public health care system,” said CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen, “but if that money ends up in private pockets the constant problems around wait times, access to hospital beds, and quality of care will continue to exist.”

“Health care professionals have been working understaffed for years. The promise of better recruitment is a welcome one,” said CUPE 8920 President Bev Strachan, “but if those health care workers end up in private medical centres, that’s not a solution.”

Nova Scotians deserve a publicly funded and operated universal health care system that prioritizes its patients and their care over profit. The Houston government needs to guarantee that the new $355 million dollar deal will be used to support, expand, and improve our already existing public health care system and not to line the pockets of the private companies already draining our system.