Skip to main content

Time limit placed on privatization of surgeries and diagnostic tests in Regina

An arbitrator has ruled that the Regina Health Region cannot contract-out surgeries and diagnostic tests past 2013.  As reported earlier, the Saskatchewan government has joined the privatization craze, encouraging health regions in Saskatoon and Regina to contract out surgeries and diagnostic tests. 

At the expedited arbitration hearing, CUPE and its expert witnesses – Dr. Michael Rachlis and Dr. Robert Evans – showed the employer’s costing methodology was flawed.

Although the arbitrator accepted the employer’s assertion it had to contract-out surgeries and diagnostic tests to meet the government’s wait time targets by 2013, the arbitrator agreed with CUPE that the work could be done more cost-effectively in the public sector. He also agreed there is "sufficient evidence" to show the health region could improve the capacity of the public system to deal with wait times. Arbitrator Daniel Ish wrote:

Even if additional capital expenditures have to be made, in the long term there is little doubt that the internal costs of carrying out both surgical and CT procedures would be less than the costs associated with the provision of those services by a third party if the costs are similar to those contained in the OMNI contract and the proposed CT contracts as reflected in the vendor responses. (For the full award see here.) 

CUPE's Suzanne Posyniak concludes:  "We’re pleased the arbitrator has restricted the use of profit-making clinics in the health region." (For more, see here.)

Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris was not giving much ground, refusing to speculate about what might happen beyond the 2013 deadline. ``We'll have to look at that. I hope that we've reduced the wait times down to our target."


The arbitrator's decision came the same day that McMorris signed an agreement that allows the Saskatoon Health Region to book patients for selected orthopedic procedures at Saskatoon Surgicentre Inc., another private facility.



dallan@cupe.ca

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.





Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 


No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …