Kenney pledges to save province $200M by privatizing AHS laundry service
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman intervened to stop privatization in 2016
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney pledged Wednesday that if elected he will save the province $200 million by cancelling a plan to upgrade Alberta Health Service laundry facilities and contract the work out instead.
In 2016, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman intervened and put a stop to an AHS plan to privatize hospital laundry services. At the time, the estimated cost of upgrading or replacing the major facilities was $200 million.
Opposition members then accused the NDP of being driven by ideology in their decision, a remark Kenney echoed on Wednesday by reading from a memo sent to Hoffman urging the government to contract the service out.
"In other words, the experts, the independent public servants said that it's time to contract the work out and let the private sector buy the new laundry machines, instead of diverting money from patient care to do so," he said.
"AHS pointed out in this same memo that Saskatchewan, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia all outsourced their linen and laundry services.
"Why, because those provincial governments are focused on using health-care dollars to treat patients instead of doing laundry. They also understand common sense, that competition gets more bang for the taxpayers buck than monopolies."
Kenney said public sector unions will be able to bid on the contracts, "but putting taxpayers through the wringer, just to maintain a government-run monopoly on laundry is just plain dirty, and it certainly won't leave taxpayers feeling April fresh."
On Monday, Kenney pledged to save the province $640 million by cancelling NDP plans for a "super lab" in Edmonton and northern Alberta.
The plan to integrate lab services into a central facility run by Alberta Health Services was announced by Hoffman in 2016.
A provincial election must be held by May 31.
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