Pri­va­ti­za­tion of health care on hori­zon

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - OPIN­ION -

At first glance the planned health re­gion amal­ga­ma­tion could lead to some fi­nan­cial sav­ings, but I am left won­der­ing as to the level of pub­lic in­put lead­ing to this ac­tion. Over­all, this may be an av­enue for pri­va­ti­za­tion of the health care in Saskatchewan with­out con­sul­ta­tion or even an­nounce­ment to the pub­lic.

Iso­la­tion of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, lack of con­sul­ta­tion and clear pro­jec­tion of down­stream ef­fects, all jus­ti­fied by un­clear fu­ture sav­ings are sig­na­ture fea­tures of this re­form. Crit­i­cal ques­tions were ne­glected: Will this amal­ga­ma­tion im­prove the qual­ity of health care? Will these changes ben­e­fit pa­tients in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties? How much will it cost to go from re­gion­al­iza­tion to one health re­gion? What kind of sav­ings are ex­pected?

This amal­ga­ma­tions wipes with one stroke the lo­cal boards and health re­gions, many of which have worked so hard to build and equip their lo­cal hospi­tals. Co-op­er­a­tion of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties with their health re­gions would be void and own­er­ship of com­mu­nity built hospi­tals re­mains un­clear. Im­prove­ments, like Saska­toon HR’s birth and breast feed­ing poli­cies, could be re­versed to older schemes tak­ing us fur­ther away from the ev­i­dence-based, in­di­vid­ual-fo­cused ap­proaches rec­og­nized by pub­lic health ex­perts as the way for­ward.

Is Premier Wall’s govern­ment pre­par­ing to PRI­VA­TIZE health care in Saskatchewan? The new health author­ity will be run by a board with mem­bers ap­pointed by govern­ment, mak­ing it a Crown cor­po­ra­tion. The re­cently passed pri­va­ti­za­tion of Crown cor­po­ra­tions’ law, sets the stage for pro­vin­cial health care to be PRI­VA­TIZED and fol­low Saskatchewan’s two-for-one MRI of­fer­ing, again in to­tal con­tra­ven­tion of the Canada Health Act.

The new sys­tem will lead to in­ef­fi­cien­cies and af­fect the qual­ity of health care in Saskatchewan. The im­pact to so­ci­ety will be felt for years to come due to re­ver­sal of gains made over the decades. Steve Jimbo, Saska­toon

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