In a media article published December 4th, Steve Buick, press secretary for the Minister of Health, could not have been more clear when he explained what is happening to front-line workers:
“Almost three-quarters of all the potential impacts to health care jobs over the next three years is potential use of alternate providers – change of employer, not reduction in jobs overall.”
Albertans know from experience that "alternate providers” is simply a euphemism for privatization and that "change of employer" signals contracting out, which means more privatization. “As we have seen in the past, a ‘change in employer’ will mean you won’t have to lose your job if you’re willing to re-apply for less money and potentially no benefits,” indicates Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.
Contracting out is not benign: it distorts the motivation of those providing health services and those determining the allocation of resources in the public system. When integral parts of our health care system are contracted out to private companies, the public loses our right to see exactly what Alberta Health Services is paying, or the added costs incurred by contracting out surgeries, home care, front-line staff and other essential services.
“We need for this government to come clean on the ideological direction they are taking our health care,” says Azocar. “Stop the spin and tell Albertans what we stand to lose.”
We cannot allow our public health care to be devalued and dismantled — contact Minister Shandro and let him know that we cannot afford to privatize such an integral public service. Health care should be there for all Albertans based on need and not ability to pay. We cannot allow budgets to be balanced on the backs of patient care and the front-line staff who provide it.