29 Jul Media Release: NDP Misses Opportunity

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

NDP Misses First Opportunity to Reverse Health Care Privatization:
Network Provincial Coordinator to Attend Government Media Conference

Halifax, NS – The NDP has squandered their first opportunity to reverse the previous government’s role in promoting private, for-profit health care, says the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network.

The Telecare service being launched today will be run by a private for-profit company called McKesson Canada.  In the last few months of its mandate, the previous Conservative government awarded a contract worth $19.5 million over 3 years to McKesson Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the U.S.-based McKesson Corp. The service is expected to handle 100,000 calls per year, resulting in a cost of $65 per call.

“We do not believe the people of Nova Scotia are getting their full money’s worth under this contract,” says Kyle Buott, Provincial Coordinator of the Health Network.  “While we agree with the development of a Telecare service, this service should be publicly-run in order to control costs and properly measure effectiveness.”

McKesson Canada was awarded the contract despite bids from not-for-profit organizations like the Victorian Order of Nurses.

“It is unfortunate to see that the NDP has decided to maintain an expensive contract that could likely be done in a more cost effective manner if it was non-profit,” says Buott. “We had hoped that as part of their $73 million expenditure review, they would identify this contract as ridiculously expensive.”

Telecare is an important part of a modern health care system and was recommended in the 2003 Royal Commission on Health Care written by Roy Romanow.

“Telecare is too important to be given to the private sector.  We need to build our Telecare system properly, from the start, in the public system,” says Buott.

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For more information please contact:

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

Please note that Kyle will be available at the news conference schedule by the government at 1:00 pm today.

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.