Relying on private clinics to do more surgeries a non-starter: OPSEU/SEFPO

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TORONTO, Aug. 19, 2022 /CNW/ - OPSEU/SEFPO's leaders say the Ford government's plan to direct surgeries and more diagnostics to private clinics will be bad for patient care and will cost Ontarians more.

"Thirty years of austerity has starved our public health system, the last thing Ontario health care needs is more privatization," said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. "Privatization has never worked whenever it has been tried, and this won't solve our health crisis, it will make things worse."

The government indicated this week it is moving toward diverting more surgeries done in the public health care system into private clinics. Sara Labelle, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO's Hospital Professionals Division, says private clinics will be forced to attract professionals from the public system, putting more strain on public health care.

"We've been working our hearts out throughout this pandemic and long before it," said Labelle.

Labelle added that contrary to suggestions by Premier Doug Ford, there is nothing "innovative" about prioritizing the wealthy and neglecting the unhealthy.

"Bolstering public health care costs less and benefits people more. If this government is serious about innovation, they must strengthen public health care."

OPSEU/SEFPO also pointed out that the public system has all the necessary infrastructure to provide care, it just needs to be properly staffed. Private clinics will need to build infrastructure, making delivery far more costly than staffing up the public system.

The government left $1.8 billion of its health care budget unspent last year.

"The Tories never mentioned privatization during the election campaign," said Hornick. "It's unconscionable that they care more about the interests of for-profit companies than the health of patients. We aren't going to accept this and will be mobilizing our members to stop it."

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO)

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