Private Home Care Company Rep on Shared Health Board “A Slap in the Face To Home Care Workers” 
Manitoba Health Coalition, Manitoba Nurses Union and CUPE 204 Call For “Nurse Next Door” To Be Removed

WINNIPEG (TREATY 1) - The Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC) joined with the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) and CUPE 204 to call on the Stefanson government to remove the COO of Nurse Next Door, Brenda Martinussen, from the Shared Health Board of Directors. Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced the new board of Shared Health on March 23.

“It is ridiculous on the face of it that the government would appoint a private competitor to the public home care system on the board that oversees public home care in Manitoba,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson. “It is a slap in the face to nurses and home care aides in the public system.”

CUPE 204 President Debbie Boissoneault stated: “The government’s privatization agenda is clear. They have underfunded the public system to the point that there is a staffing crisis in Winnipeg leading to reduced care for vulnerable clients. Appointing a private operator is a clear signal to public home care workers, clients and families that they are expendable to this government.”

Nurse Next Door is an aggressive private, for-profit home health care operator. As pointed out in the landmark NUGPE report on home care privatization in Canada, former Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario Mike Harris oversaw the contracting-out of home care services and then purchased a Nurse Next Door franchise together with his wife upon leaving office.

MHC, MNU and CUPE 204 are calling on the provincial government to replace Nurse Next Door with an individual with experience in the public home care system on the Shared Health Board.

 “Just a few short months ago, Heather Stefanson became premier and promised to listen,” said Thomas Linner, MHC Provincial Director. “Manitoba’s front-line home care nurses and home care aides are clearly saying they need more funding and more support to serve their clients, not more cuts and privatization. Its’ time for the premier to listen to health care workers first, not private investors in it for a profit.”

Linner noted that there are also concerns with other representatives selected by the government for their clear interest in health care privatization and further analysis will be forthcoming.