Privatizing Ambulance Services is Not a Solution

Privatizing Ambulance Services is Not a Solution

EDMONTON - This afternoon, Health Minister Adriana LaGrange announced two new contracts with private partners to provide interfacility transfer services, with work underway to further expand this privatization initiative across the province. These services are currently publicly provided.

“Here we go again, another ideological decision from the UCP government that prioritizes contracts going to for-profit health care delivery rather than bolstering our public health care system,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “The government’s decision is purely political, in spite of clear evidence that the privatization of emergency services is not a solution to our problems. These services are currently being delivered by the public system and there’s no reason they shouldn’t continue to be.”

Privatized ambulance services in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are failing to deliver in those provinces. In Alberta, the UCP’s record on health care privatization has been one of consistent failures. Privatized food in hospitals has been a disaster, the failed privatization of lab services has cost Alberta at least $97 million to undo, and privatized surgeries are failing to deliver on the needs of Alberta patients.

“Despite bold promises from the government that their privatization schemes will bring down wait times, save money and improve care, the opposite continues to happen,” said Gallaway. “The failed privatization of our community labs is currently costing Albertans tens of millions of dollars to undue. It’s time for the government to learn their lesson and stop with these expensive schemes.”

As these privatization schemes continue to pull more and more workers from our public system, our health care short-staffing crisis is only getting worse with dozens of facilities across the province facing repeated temporary closures. Alberta needs a workforce plan for health care, not further fragmentation and privatization of services.

“Instead of creating a desperately needed health care workforce plan and making delivery decisions based on that, the government continues their failing privatization agenda that is actively worsening the dire short-staffing crisis facing our public health care,” concluded Gallaway.

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