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Health Minister defends privatization of hospital work by US Corporation

Deb Matthews, the Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care, has leapt to the defense of a proposal to contract out hospital jobs in London.   “Every hospital in this province is working really, really hard to get best value for their money when it comes to health care. . . . If we can provide more front-line care, then that’s what we are trying to accomplish.”

London hospitals are in negotiations with U.S. health-records giant Cerner Corp. According to the London Free Press about 30 full-time hospital jobs would be cut in London. 

New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath, who raised the prospect that patient confidentiality could be put at risk by the US corporation.  Matthews rejected the suggestion arguing “We’ve got some of the toughest privacy legislation anywhere...Every health-care organization here simply must comply with it. I have absolutely no reason to believe this change will, in any way, weaken their commitment to security of patient information.”

Horwath said she remains concerned about a huge firm in the U.S. being the holder of Ontario health records.  “I don’t think the government is giving this very much thought or very much scrutiny,” she said. “The ‘just trust us’ response really doesn’t engender much confidence.”

NDP health critic France Gelinas adds "London has been hit by thousands of job losses, and here you are taking 30 good-paying jobs with benefits and pension plans and shipping them out to the States from a hospital that gets paid by public funds. How is this going to help us at all?"  

dallan@cupe.ca

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