Right-wing think tank compares hospitals to hotels

News release

We’re looking after patients — not tourists, says HEU

A rehashed study by a right-wing think tank comparing hospital services to those in hotels is fundamentally flawed, says the Hospital Employees’ Union. In an update of a 1995 study, the Fraser Institute says the health care system could save money if it paid certain hospital workers the same as those doing similar sounding jobs in hotels.

“This Fraser Institute retread completely fails to recognize that hospital work is specialized and critical to the health and safety of patients and other staff,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“We’re looking after patients — not tourists,” adds Allnutt.

“Hospital housekeepers must maintain a sterile, germ-free environment to prevent the spread of infection. Food service staff provide for the specialized dietary requirements of convalescing patients. Laundry workers are subject to a range of biohazards and must provide sterile operating room linens.

Click here for HEU's study debunking the Fraser Institute Report

“The Fraser Institute study is designed to marginalize the contribution made by hospital ancillary workers to patient care,” says Allnutt. “And I have no doubt that it will be trotted out by the Campbell Liberals as a rationale for opening up signed collective agreements and privatizing a range of hospital services. “But the public and front-line health care workers won’t stand by and watch this government throw health care into chaos.”

Last fall, the HEU released a comprehensive report Click here debunking the Fraser Institute’s original hotel/hospital study and exploring the specific health care specific knowledge, skills and on-the-job training required by hospital workers. The right-wing think tank again fails to compare the actual job requirements of hospital work to hotel work.

A McIntyre and Mustel public opinion survey Click here to read carried out for the union last fall showed public support for hospital workers’ wages that reflect their specialized role by a margin of two to one.

The HEU report, Do comparisons between hospital support workers and hospitality workers make sense? is available at www.heu.org