Lesson for Campbell Liberals in Romanow’s rejection of private health care — HEU

News release

The Romanow report’s rejection of for-profit health care delivery is a message that Gordon Campbell’s Liberals must not ignore, says B.C.’s largest health care union.

Health care commissioner Roy Romanow today made recommendations that would end for-profit involvement in health care delivery in areas like surgery and diagnostic imaging and raises questions about so-called public-private partnerships (P3s) for the financing and operation of health facilities.

“Mr. Romanow rejected private health care based on the evidence and on his discussions with ordinary Canadians who are committed to the equity principles that underlie medicare,” adds Allnutt. “That’s in stark contrast to the Campbell Liberals who are privatizing our health care system by stealth and without producing a shred of evidence to show that care would be improved as a result.”

Romanow’s conclusion that P3 hospitals are “no panacea and their use and value need to be carefully considered” should give Victoria reason to step back from plans to privatize the financing and operation of hospital facilities in Abbotsford and Vancouver, says Allnutt.

“The evidence points to P3 hospitals as being costly alternatives to publicly built and operated hospitals and a drain on resources better directed to patient care,” adds Allnutt. “P3s are an expensive mistake that — thanks to Romanow — our provincial government can avoid.”

Allnutt says he’s concerned with the report’s hands off attitude towards the delivery of other critical hospital functions like cleaning, laundry and food services — areas in which Romanow did not study in detail.

The evidence shows that ancilliary services like these are an integral part of health care delivery essential to patient health and safety, says Allnutt.

“Victoria is poised to hand over lucrative contracts for critical support services to corporations who will pay low wages and pocket huge profits at the expense of patient care and front-line staff,” says Allnutt. “If these decisions were based on evidence — and not ideology — sterile operating room linens, infection-fighting cleaning protocols and nutritious food would take priority over corporate profits.”

HEU was among 59 groups and individuals that met with Romanow during his B.C. hearings.

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)