Alberta Mirror

Protest to honor nurses’ requests for more budget for public health services


Key takeaways: 

  • Edmonton Nurses Week protest attempted to direct awareness to the privatization of health care in the region.
  • Retired anesthesiologist Sue Reid, who attended the protest, expressed her worries over the privatization of surgical services in the region.

Nearly 200 individuals came out to a protest to support nurses at the Alberta Legislature Building Saturday afternoon. Similar demonstrations were held in Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat. 

Heather Smith, president of United Nurses of Alberta, said the event was scheduled as part of National Nurses Week to thank nurses for their continued work throughout the outbreak. 

But Smith said there were other reasons for the protests as well — she’s nervous about rising privatization and underfunding of public health care. 

“We require money and political choice to fund public health care,” Smith stated. “We need to move on with things like pharmacare and real reforms to our long-term care system.”

Sue Reid, a retired anesthesiologist who performed in Edmonton for 30 years, said she showed up to honor nurses and advocate for “publicly financed, publicly provided health care.”

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Nearly 200 individuals came out to a protest to support nurses at the Alberta Legislature Building Saturday afternoon

Reid said at the protest as a member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, a group that seeks to improve publicly-funded universal health care.

Before this year, the Alberta government offered to use public budgets for surgeries at private hospitals to clear surgery backlogs. Reid said she fears the move could potentially heighten public surgical services. 

“You rob people from the public hospital system and put them in the private system, and there’s no rest,” she said. “So if you’re an anesthetist working in the remote OR [operating room], the one public OR is shut.” 

Chad Ohman, the technical producer at ProtectOurProvince Alberta, echoed her problems. 

“We’re noticing that with Alberta Precision Laboratories being privatized over to Dynalife,” Ohman stated. 

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