CHC urges NB Health Minister to find public sector solutions: Flu pandemic shows why protecting public health care against privatization is essential

    FREDERICTON, May 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The international flu pandemic shows
why protecting and improving public health care is so important, says Michael
McBane, National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC).
    "Dealing with a flu pandemic requires trusted and universally accessible
public health care, not for-profit private services," said Mr. McBane. "Only a
strong public system can provide coordinated and equitable action to care for
all Canadians during a pandemic. That's why it's so important that we continue
to protect and strengthen our public health care."
    Mr. McBane had hoped to emphasize the importance and effectiveness of
public sector solutions during a planned meeting today with Michael Murphy,
Minister of Health for New Brunswick. "The Minister cancelled the meeting and
offered us a "cameo" appearance," said Mr. McBane. "He clearly doesn't
understand that New Brunswickers - and all Canadians - want our governments to
play more than a walk-on role in health care. They want to see real public
sector solutions that benefit all Canadians."
    "There are proven innovations that can cut wait times, improve access and
reduce costs," said Mr. McBane. "We urged the Minister to implement these
public sector solutions in New Brunswick instead of introducing legislation to
allow more for-profit private services."
    The CHC had asked for a meeting with Minister Murphy during the recent
launch of its national campaign to protect and improve public health care.
"Regardless of this Minister, we are taking one message right across the
country," said Mr. McBane. "If we are going to keep fair and equitable public
health care in Canada, we have to stop private, for-profit services and
implement public sector solutions now."
    Mr. McBane said New Brunswick was chosen as the site of the campaign
launch because Minister Murphy is committed to allowing private for-profit
services. "The Minister thinks it's fine to allow for-profit companies to
compete for our scarce health care dollars," said Mr. McBane. "We believe that
this flu pandemic is a good example of why a strong public system is so
important, now and in the future."
    Dr. Michael Rachlis, a leading expert on the Canadian health care system,
wanted to present the Minister with several innovative public sector examples
from across Canada. "If we implemented solutions found elsewhere in Canada,
New Brunswickers could see their family doctor or someone on their family
doctor's team in 24 hours. They could see specialists within two weeks and get
elective surgery within two months. Made-in-Canada public solutions are the
best way to go to improve fair and equitable health care for all Canadians,"
said Dr. Rachlis.
    The campaign's next stop is in Prince Edward Island where organizers will
hold a town hall meeting and attend a meeting with PEI's health minister.

    The Canadian Health Coalition is a not-for-profit, non-partisan
organization dedicated to protecting and expanding Canada's public health
system for the benefit of all Canadians. It includes organizations
representing seniors, women, churches, nurses, health care workers and
anti-poverty activists from across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Michael McBane, National Coordinator, Canadian
Health Coalition, (613) 277-6295;

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