Edmonton – The Minister of Health missed an opportunity today to enshrine laboratory services firmly within the public health-care system, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), the union representing 25,000 health-care workers including nearly 5,000 members working in medical laboratories across the province.
“By creating a subsidiary entity of Alberta Health Services (AHS) covering lab services province wide, this government has created a further division in public health-care in Alberta,” says HSAA Vice President, Trudy Thomson, herself a Laboratory Technologist working for AHS. “As we’ve seen in the past, governments less interested in maintaining the public service are open to selling off our health-care system in bits and pieces. Lab services are a crucial part of health care, and keeping it public makes both economic and common sense.”
“We are particularly concerned that in this new model there are no guarantees of continued participation in the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) for close to 2000 lab professionals currently employed by AHS and Covenant Health,” says Thomson. “This is no small matter. We have been advocating for pensions for all workers for years and cannot understand how this government can make this decision without assurances firmly in place. Retirement security is critical to the well-being of a society, and our members will not be the exception.”
HSAA has been working closely with the Minister of Health since her appointment and are pleased that the proposed new entity is not private. The union has also continued to outline the potential pitfalls of the proposed model, citing their lengthy experience with Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS).
“Regardless of the new structure, we remain committed to work with this new entity to ensure that both our members rights and the high-quality work they perform are protected,” says Thomson.
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