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Health care coalition concerned about potential privatization in Alberta

Last Updated Dec 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm MDT

FILE PHOTO: A doctor reads notes from their phone in a hospital hallway. (CREDIT: iStock photo) (Source: iStock)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The province says it’s introducing a hybrid private and public health care model in an attempt to quicken access to care–but that’s not sitting well with a health care coalition.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s announcement Tuesday morning laid out plans to use more private clinics to help decrease surgical wait times.

READ MORE: Alberta looks to improve wait times for surgeries

“We don’t need private solutions to public problems like wait times,” said Friends of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar.

“When integral parts of our health care system are contracted out to private companies, the public loses our right to see exactly what Alberta Health Services is paying, or the added costs incurred from contracting out integral parts of our health care as in the case of home care, seniors care, diagnostic imaging and surgeries.”

In a release from the group, they expressed concern that Shandro did not offer any plans on how the province would afford the initiative or where the money would be coming from.

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“Just as we’ve seen with previous conservative governments, the minister is once again asking Albertans to accept major changes to their health care system on faith along, without revealing any of the details as to how this will affect costs or the quality of care to patients,” said Azocar.

The release quoted information from an article from 2014 and said the proof in the pudding is that private care, although meant to serve patients quicker, only results in making the problem worse. They believe privatization will result in patients in need being passed over for ones “upsold and over-referred”.

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They stated that, although Friends of Medicare wants to see changes in the status quo, this is not the way going about doing it.

“Our health care system has the capacity to provide the best care possible. What we are faced with is the problem of how to properly manage our resources in order to improve and expand our health care, and to ensure quality and timely for all Albertans,” insisted Azocar.

“Contracting out will only add to the complexity and inequity of the system.”