Fertility Clinic Privatization a Broken NDP Promise to Albertans
News in today's Edmonton Journal about the opening of a privately run fertility clinic in Edmonton this year is a broken promise on private health care from Alberta's NDP Government.
"While delivery decisions may be made by AHS, ultimately, policy directives to privatize services rests with the Ministry of Health. We believe that the Minister should put an end to this experiment," said Friends of Medicare Executive Director Sandra Azocar.
"Failing that, we are calling on the Minister of Health to make public the cost and details of their contract with the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine, and prove to Alberta citizens that they have considered the costs and service benefits of keeping this service public before deciding to expand the role of profit driven medicine in Alberta."
The Alberta NDP election platform promised to "end the PCs' costly experiments in privatization, and redirect the funds to publicly delivered services."
"Like past privatization experiments, the move to open a private fertility clinic in Edmonton comes with no disclosure of the costs to Albertans ", said Azocar. "There are also concerns about an unacceptable loss of experienced and valued front line staff to the private sector. When you combine that with dramatically decreasing wait times down to 3 to 9 months at our public fertility clinic, we have many questions but no answers about why this privatization is going ahead, and who ultimately benefits."
"There are reports of salaries over $1 million at private fertility clinics, and clinic profits as high as $14 million per year. At the same time, we have a 2014 study showing the province could find $100 million in yearly savings by bringing regulated IVF coverage under the public umbrella," Azocar continued. "While the public clinic provides services at a cost recovery basis, profit driven delivery will likely drive costs up. Instead of adding profit driven inefficiencies, the Alberta Government needs to look at public based solutions."
As noted in the Edmonton Journal, a 2014 University of Alberta study suggests that the province could fund an IVF program and realize about $100 million a year in savings to Alberta Health.
"The public clinic at the Royal Alexandria hospital is not just an important part of our public health service, but also one of the last 2 remaining academic IVF centres in Canada. More IVF specialists are trained through the existing clinic and University of Alberta than any other University in Canada. Concerns exist among academics about the loss of these contributions if this privatization moves forward," added Azocar.
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