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N.S. health-care advocates concerned about public-private partnerships
There is concern about a Nova Scotia government plan to use a public-private partnership to build new health-care centres in Cape Breton.
While the province says the plan will fast-track construction, a community group says it's going to cost taxpayers a lot more money.
Gordon MacDonald of the citizens group Capers 4 Health Care says he was shocked to learn of the government’s plan to build two new health-care centres using a public-private partnership.
“The taxpayer is on the hook for building it,” he said. “The taxpayer is on the hook when they buy them back and the taxpayer is going to be on the hook when they have to refurbish these buildings in 30 or 40 years.”
In order to get the facilities in North Sydney and New Waterford constructed quickly, Premier Stephen McNeil says the design, build, finance, and maintain approach is the best way.
“It's ensuring they can be done as quick as possible,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. “Many of our long-term facilities are privately owned and operated. In this case we will lease it, but we will control what happens inside.”
The premier took a lot heat after abruptly announcing the closures of the Northside General and New Waterford Consolidated hospitals last June.
Still, the province feels these new facilities will provide better health-care services and make it easier to attract doctors to the area.
“The extensive analysis that we've done over the past couple of years, tell us there's a better value for money proposition on the P3 process,” said Lloyd Hines, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “We are following the same path with the QEII rebuild.”
MacDonald and his group are not the only ones that disagree with the government's approach. Nova Scotia Federation of Labour says the P3 model is the wrong choice and will place greater pressure on the health care budget.
“They have no plan,” MacDonald said. “They are just throwing out announcements. Show me something they've done other than say something. They've done nothing.”
The province says more details on the new facilities in New Waterford and North Sydney will be announced soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.