EDMONTON – Front line health care workers in AUPE are calling on Alberta Health Services to scrap the Ernst & Young report 100 days after it was released, to reject calls for cuts and privatization.
“The pandemic has highlighted the incredible value of our public health care system,” says Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Vice-President Bonnie Gostola. “From preparing hospital capacity for worst case infection scenarios, to massively increasing lab testing for COVID-19 we can see how important a centralized public response to a health crisis is.”
After paying Ernst & Young $2 million to recommend more cuts and privatization, the report was released on February 3. Wide ranging recommended cuts included key services like laundry, housekeeping, food services, hospital security, home care, and the sell off of long-term care spaces including Capital Care and Carewest. Alberta Health Services was instructed to make a plan to implement the report within 100 days.
“Nowhere has the contrast between public and private care been starker than in our continuing care system,” added Gostola. “The outbreaks in the private sector greatly outnumber those in our public system. We need the government to make it clear that they will not sell off Capital Care and Carewest. The focus of our continuing care system needs to be on residents, not shareholder dividends and bonuses for millionaire CEOs.”
Of the 35 supportive living and long-term care outbreaks, only 6 have happened in publicly run facilities while private facilities make up the remaining 29 centres or 83% of the continuing care outbreaks.
“In the 100 days since this report has been released, we’ve had a clear case made for keeping our health care system public,” says Gostola. “Patients and workers deserve better than to have our system sold off to profiteers. We can not put vulnerable people at risk of inferior private care after we make it through this pandemic.”
AUPE Vice-President Bonnie Gostola is available for interviews.
For more information contact, Trevor Zimmerman, Communications, 780-930-3413