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Another example of private interests in public hospitals was exposed in Quebec last week when it was revealed that public hospitals allow private companies to use their operating rooms for a fee.

The scandal came to light after a Montreal-area hospital allowed an American for-profit corporation to perform operations to test a new medical procedure that hasn’t yet been approved by health authorities. The hospital leased out the space, while operating room staff were paid in cash – in American funds.

“One of the most disturbing aspects is the apparent lack of any public control over these questionable practices,” said Claude Généreux, president of SCPF-Québec. “Are we about to open a Pandora’s box with a proliferation of money-making schemes on the part of public health institutions whose funding has been drastically reduced in the last few years?”

Pressure was also mounting on the Quebec health minister on another front. More than 1,000 health care workers at the Cité de la Santé hospital in Laval, members of CUPE 2105, walked off the job on November 23 to press for a new contract.

Said Généreux, “this was the first group in the Common Front that dared to take strike action – and it paid off.” Within hours of their job action, the government put forward the first global offer to Common Front members.

Pressure on the government will continue to escalate as next week six CUPE locals are slated to take strike action and on December 9, 125 locals will walk off the job.