Privatized Waterford not the answer: McCurdy
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says a new mental health treatment facility is critical, but privatization of any sort is not the way to go when it comes to vital public services. Yesterday, Liberal Leader Dwight Ball promised to start building a replacement for the Waterford Hospital two years from now, if his party forms government after this year’s election. Ball said the Liberals might resort to “performance based infrastructure.”
In reality, says McCurdy, “That expression is doublespeak for privatized health facilities. A for-profit company would own the hospital, and we would lease it.
“Over and over, that model has been shown to cost governments more. Nova Scotia abandoned the privatized school model a decade and a half ago because of excessive costs; in Ontario, five privatized hospitals ended up costing a billion dollars more than if they’d been government-owned, and the ongoing saga of Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre should be enough to make even Dwight Ball think twice about the model.
“This stuff is not secret. When Auditors General are allowed to look at all the books, they consistently find that private hospitals cost more, not less, and that public money is squandered on profits for corporations.”
McCurdy adds that replacing the Waterford Hospital must be a priority for any government as part of a comprehensive mental health care plan, but it should be done without the extra cost that privatization has been proven to incur.
“The tireless work of activists like our own MHA Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) has shone the light on the importance of mental health,” he said. “Let’s not turn this public concern into a cash cow for a private company at the expense of taxpayers.”