The plan to contract out services as part of the QEII hospital redevelopment project raises safety concerns, says the president of CUPE Nova Scotia.
“Outsourcing the operations and maintenance of the new QEII power plant is a risky move,” says CUPE NS President Nan McFadgen, “We know that outsourcing maintenance work leads to corners being cut so that private companies can make a profit. We’ve seen it in P3 hospital builds across Canada: there are serious consequences.”
The news that the hospital’s power plant will be designed, built, financed, operated and maintained by a private company was announced at Wednesday’s Public Accounts Committee meeting.
“This is the first confirmation we’ve received of a service being contracted out at the new hospital,” says McFadgen. “We don’t know what the cost will be because the government refuses to release the RFP, but we can be sure it is going to cost more because government is asking the private sector to take on the risk.”
CUPE, along with other community groups, have been calling for the release of all documents related to the QEII hospital redevelopment project, in keeping with the government’s own legislative obligations for transparency and public accountability.
McFadgen says there is a growing mountain of evidence to prove that keeping public infrastructure and services in public hands is better value for taxpayers.
“The government made the right decision when it reversed its plans to use public-private partnerships to build health facilities in Cape Breton,” she adds. “It’s not too late for government to choose a public model for health care infrastructure in Halifax that includes financing, maintenance and operations that are in the best interest of Nova Scotians.”