12 Nov Media Release: Public Accounts meeting on Scotia Surgery

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Expand Capacity in Public System, Not in Private System

Halifax, NS – The provincial government should be expanding capacity in the public health care system instead of continuing a contract with a private, for-profit clinic, says the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network.

Officials with the Department of Health said in a Public Accounts meeting today that they would be willing to recommend the contract with the private, for-profit Scotia Surgery clinic continue after it expires next Spring.

“Instead of extending a contract with a private, for-profit clinic, the provincial government should buy the clinic out and create a state-of-the-art publicly owned and operated surgical clinic as has been done in Manitoba and Ontario,” says Kyle Buott, Coordinator of the Health Network.

While the current contract with Scotia Surgery is estimated to cost $1 million, an extension of that contract would essentially guarantee the private clinic access to public funding as part of its operations.

“In October we released a report called ‘Eroding Public Medicare’ which documented 130 private, for profit clinics in Canada,” says Buott. “The report found that areas with a higher density of private clinics also have longer wait times. Additionally, we found evidence of staff being poached from the public system to work in the private – Nova Scotia was no exception to these findings.”

The Health Network continues to call on the government to build capacity in the public system to ensure all Nova Scotians have equal access to care.

“Privatization is not sustainable,” says Buott.  “We need to focus on building capacity in the public system and one way to do this is to buy out the private, for-profit clinics as has been done successfully in other provinces.”



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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

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.