Privatization front and centre at Nurses' Union leadership debate

Public-private partnerships, suggested by the governing PCs as a solution for the future of long-term care, was the main focus of a debate sponsored by the union representing nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador.
All three party leaders attended the Newfoundland and Labrador Registered Nurses' Union debate Tuesday. (CBC)

Public-private partnerships, suggested by the governing PCs as a solution for the future of long-term care, was the main focus of a debate sponsored by the union representing nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Registered Nurses' Union invited all three provincial party leaders to hear what they were offering the  province's 5,700 nurses in the lead up to the Nov. 30 provincial election.

Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis said his government is the only one looking at realistic alternative options that would relieve the pressure on health-care workers and avoid large cuts.

Nurses' Union president Debbie Forward said after the debate that any form of public-private partnerships simply won't sit well with the nurses she represents.

"If he moves forward on private-public partnerships then he won't have the support of registered nurses," she said.

"We're firm in our commitment that private-public partnerships cost more at the end of the day."

Nurses' union president Debbie Forward said privitization is not in the interest of the 5,700 workers she represents. (CBC)

Both Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and NDP Leader Earle McCurdy said Tuesday they would not entertain the idea of privately-delivered health care.

The Liberals in particular are touting a plan for building a new Waterford Hospital, which Dwight Ball claims, once constructed, won't involve privatization of services.

Forward said she was pleased to hear that, but said needs to learn more about that plan before the union endorses it.

"I need to sit down with Mr. Ball and tease apart just what their announcement is, because it was vague"

"He made an announcement that they're committed to no privatization in healthcare, but yet when you look at their proposal for the new Waterford, there are words that are used there that make me go 'what does that mean'."


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