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Florence Nightingale’s efforts to reform hospitals and health care aimed squarely at improving cleanliness and diet in hospitals, because she realized how central they were to health care. This fact seems to be lost on Roy Romanow, and the host of privatizers who would set up P3s, according to this Toronto Star article.

The piece, by health policy expert Pat Armstrong, criticizes the view of health care that calls laundry, food, maintenance and clerical work “ancillary services” and deems those workers “non-health care workers”.

That logic has been used to calm a public nervous about the effect of contracting out and privatization on the quality of health care.

Armstrong argues that the public has good reason to worry as maintenance, cleaning, food services and administrative functions are being privatized across the country.

Says Armstrong, “Health care necessarily involves a team that includes those who do surgery and those who make sure the surgery is clean; those who determine whether patients eat and those who help them eat; those who determine what records should be kept and those who keep them.”