Baillie puts patients first

September 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

A Progressive Conservative government will keep hospitals, ambulances operating during contract disputes

WOLFVILLE, NS – Only a Progressive Conservative government will protect patients and keep hospitals operating and ambulances on the road during contract disputes, PC leader Jamie Baillie said today.

“A PC government will ensure health care services are there for Nova Scotians when they need them, even during contract disputes,” Baillie said. “People who are ill should not be used as pawns in labour negotiations.”

Baillie made the announcement at the Eastern Kings Community Health Centre in Wolfville. In January 2010, a strike by health care support workers that lasted a few hours caused the cancellation of elective surgeries and uncertainty for patients at Annapolis Valley Health.

“It is unfair to patients and families to not know if medical care will be there when they need it,” Baillie said. “A PC government will stand up for patients, while the Liberals and the NDP stand on the side of health unions.”

In anticipation of a threatened strike at the Capital District Health Authority in Spring 2012, 530 diagnostic imaging appointments were postponed and 430 surgeries and nearly 2,000 outpatient appointments were delayed. It took months for all those patients to get the care they needed.

When a recent contract dispute threatened our ambulance service, the McNeil Liberals voted against keeping paramedics on the job. What would the Liberals have happen when you call needing an ambulance?

The PCs introduced legislation — An Act to Protect Patients and Provide for the Fair Resolution of Contract Negotiations in Health Care and Community Services — to prevent cancellations and postponements. The Liberals and the NDP did nothing.

“Few things are more important to Nova Scotians than having access to health services when they need them,” Baillie concluded. “Only a PC government will guarantee in law that contract disputes don’t interrupt crucial services.”

The PC legislation provides for resolution of contract disputes at arbitration rather than strikes or lockouts, so that contract disputes cannot interrupt health care.

Nova Scotia is the only province without a law restricting strikes in the health care sector.