“Privatization of health care is never something that I’ve been contemplating.”

– Premier Furey, January 20, 2023


Provincial Ambulance Integration RFP Sends Mixed Messages on Privatization

Road ambulance services being contracted-in while air ambulance is being privatized

For immediate release:

December 7, 2023

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) is reacting to a Request for Proposals that was just announced by the provincial government regarding the integration of road and air ambulance services.

“Today we found out that the provincial government is planning to contract-in the road ambulance service to improve service and outcomes while simultaneously contracting-out the air ambulance service,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “The government is talking out of both sides of their mouth on this. How does it make sense to improve one part of the paramedicine system by bringing it under the public system while expecting the same outcome by privatizing another part?”

NAPE has long advocated for the integration of the provincial road and ambulance service under the public system because the public system puts people’s care above all else. NAPE has also been adamantly opposed to the privatization of the air ambulance service because it will cost more and deliver less.

Records released to NAPE under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) in 2021 showed that the private air ambulance service is far more expensive on a per-patient basis than the public system – nearly five times more expensive.

In 2020 and 2021, NAPE presented concrete recommendations and solutions to the government and the Health Accord Team on how to strengthen and improve the public air ambulance service. Those recommendations were ignored.

“Response times are critical and in those moments the people of the province need to know that their care is put before the bottom line,” said Earle. “There is no place for privatization of healthcare – when profit comes before people, something’s got to give.”

“Our union has been pushing back against the creeping privatization of healthcare in recent months. In January of this year, we publicly called on the Premier to oppose the privatization of our public healthcare,” said Earle. “The Premier said then that privatization was not something he was contemplating, yet here we are today, less than a year later, with a public healthcare service that is being privatized and workers worried about their livelihoods only weeks before Christmas. The Premier broke his word to them, to us, and to the people of the province.”

“Our union stands steadfast against the privatization of public services because we have seen here and elsewhere what that has meant in terms of outcomes, lack of transparency, accountability, service delivery, good jobs, and costs to taxpayers,” said Earle. “The Premier still has the opportunity to scrap this ill-conceived plan to privatize the air ambulance service and bring the entire integrated road and air ambulance system together where it belongs – under the public system. We are calling him to stick to his word and do the right thing.”

– 30 –