24 Jul 25/7/13 Media Release: Photo OPP – Public Health Care is on the Line
July 25/13 – MEDIA RELEASE
Public Health Care is on the Line
Halifax, NS – The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network is displaying a visual representation of what’s at stake for public health care in Nova Scotia, outside the IWK Hospital on University Avenue, at 12pm. The 2004 Health Accord has nearly expired and the premiers have not yet signed a Health Accord for 2014.
The display is timed to coincide with the Council of the Federation meetings in Niagara on the Lake, where Canada’s premiers are currently meeting. The Health Network is urging the premiers to discuss the 2014 Health Accord at length and take a stand against Harper’s cuts.
To date, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to meet with the premiers to discuss the 2014 Health Accord, and has announced that he intends to cut $36 billion from public health care. For Nova Scotia, that means $902 million in cuts, equivalent to 1319 nurses over the ten-year length of the funding plan. Put in perspective, the cut would mean more than 10% of the province’s entire nursing staff (more than all the nurses in the Pictou and Guysborough Antigonish Straight Health Authorities).
“There is no way to make cuts like that without having a serious impact on patient care,” says James Hutt, Provincial Coordinator of the Health Network. “It’s clear that public health care is on Harper’s enemy list. The federal government is abandoning its responsibilities towards public health care and putting patients at risk.”
The Network’s display hangs 132 sets of nursing scrubs, each representing 10 nursing jobs, all along the boulevard of University Avenue. The true impact of Harper’s cuts on the health care system can be seen in a startling visual representation.
“This display shows what’s at stake. Nova Scotia has 12,995 nurses right now. What would happen if a full tenth of those jobs were lost to cuts?” says Lee Seymour, Chairperson of the Health Network. ‘Our display says it all: public health care is on the line.”
Health care is on the agenda at the Council of the Federation, and the premiers could make a 2014 Health Accord a key outcome of the meeting.
“In the absence of federal leadership for public health care, we need our premiers to step up,” says Hutt. “These cuts will mean longer wait times and lower quality care for patients. We need our premiers to bring Harper back to the table, negotiate a strong 2014 Health Accord, and improve health care for all.”
For more information, contact:
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network