04 May Media Release: Budget does little to ease ER crisis or stop privatization

Monday, 04 May 2009

Budget does little to ease ER crisis or stop privatization

Halifax, NS – Today’s provincial budget does little to stop the privatization of public health care or fix the ER crisis in the province, says the Nova Scotia Citizen’s Health Care Network.

“This budget is more of the same,” says Kyle Buott, Coordinator of the Health Network.  “There is nothing new to stop ER Closures, reverse privatization or increase access to nurse practitioners.”

The Health Network had hoped to see 5 major actions from the Conservative government including;

1. Measures to stop ER closures and adjust the way rural physicians are paid
2. A buy-out of the two existing private, for-profit health clinics
3. New money to expand pharmacare programs
4. An investment fund for health care infrastructure
5. An end to competitive bidding in Long Term Care

Instead of taking action on these key steps, the provincial government has decided to extend their Public-Private Partnership with Scotia Surgery, a for-profit surgical clinic, and will continue to allow for-profit long-term care facilities.  While the budget did announce new money for hospital infrastructure, this is a one-time investment which makes it difficult for Health Authorities to plan for future years.

“This budget is pure electioneering,” says Buott. “The government has been running around spending money with little planning or vision.  This is unacceptable when we have ER closures every other day at rural hospitals and a creeping trend towards for-profit health care.”

One positive note in the budget is the creation and funding of an “Integrated Learning Centre” at Dalhousie University to look at health care workers training in a team-based approached.

The Health Network is responding to government inaction through a new On-line Action section of our website which can be viewed at www.nshealthcoalition.ca.  Individuals can send a letter to the Minister of Health and Opposition Critics demanding action against for-profit heath care.

– 30 –

For more information please contact:

Kyle Buott
Coordinator
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network
Work – (902) 406-9422
Cell – (902) 478-0239

About the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network:

Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network’s goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.

The Network is a coalition of local health committees, community groups, organized labour, faith groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and advancing public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care and long-term and home care.

The Network is political but non-partisan and receives no government funding.