Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

September 05, 2013 12:13 ET

Merging health boards disruptive, expensive, says report

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 5, 2013) - The cost of merging district health boards is likely to outweigh any savings according to a research report commissioned by CUPE hospital workers in Nova Scotia.

"Healthcare Restructuring in Nova Scotia" by Barbara Clow, PhD was unveiled at a meeting of CUPE hospital workers in New Glasgow yesterday.

The report, which looks at healthcare restructuring across the country, concludes that merging health boards could also lead to reduced services and loss of decision-making in communities.

"The research clearly shows that centralization has not been shown to save money, and in addition, puts the integrity of our whole healthcare system at risk," says CUPE Atlantic Regional Director Jacquie Bramwell. "Downsizing and contracting out not only results in fewer jobs and health services in communities, but in poorer working conditions, fewer benefits and less economic security for those who manage to keep their jobs."

In the report, Dr. Clow asserts that "Neither research nor recent experience support claims that centralization will be more cost effective than regionalization has been. On the other hand, both research and experience suggest that regionalized systems may be more accountable as well as more likely to deliver healthcare that is accessible, equitable, and responsive to the needs of diverse communities and populations."

The report points out that two of the main cost determinants in health care - physicians' fees and pharmaceuticals - are already managed centrally, and that taking advantage of economies of scale does not guarantee high quality products or services.

"In the final analysis," says Clow, "organizational changes, leadership changes, workforce changes, and community changes take time, money and energy away from the real work of planning and delivering excellent healthcare...It would seem to make more sense to invest in and improve on the structures already in place, than to undertake massive reforms that will be expensive and disruptive."

CUPE represents 4,000 front-line hospital workers in Nova Scotia.


Healthcare Restructuring in NS:

Report Highlights:

Contact Information

  • CUPE
    Carol Ferguson
    Research Representative
    (902) 455-4180 (o)

    Jacquie Bramwell
    Atlantic Regional Director
    (902) 455-4180 (o)

    Gaelle McNeil
    Communications Representative
    (902) 455-4180 (o)