A proposal by the Ontario government to license private clinics to act as community health providers is a fundamental shift in public policy and a prelude to the transfer of public services to the private sector, Unifor is warning.
In a submission to the province, Unifor calls for a vigorous public debate on the issue before any such change is made.
“The regulatory proposal … should be withdrawn until that debate has reached some form of broad consensus or conclusion and no further evidence is available,” the submissions says.
The submission says that proposed regulatory changes under the Local Health System Integration Act and the Independent Health Facilities Act would seem to set the stage for Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and Cancer Care Ontario to directly fund “community-based specialty clinics” licenced as independent health facilities.
“This represents a fundamental shift in public policy that inherently places in jeopardy the ongoing capacity of our community-based, publicly funded and publicly governed hospitals,” the submissions says.
Such private clinics would draw money away from already struggling publicly funded health facilities, the submission says.
“Our hospitals are already under great financial pressure, and diverting money away to private clinics will only hurt them,” said Katha Fortia, Unifor Ontario Director.
Former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow said in his 2002 report on health that there is no evidence private clinics can bring more resources to health care, and no evidence to the contrary has come up since, the submission says..
“We are deeply concerned that this regulatory change not only conflicts with prior policy announcements but is also a prelude to the creation or transfer of public services to corporate for-profit entities.”
To read the submission click here (pdf).