MICHELE BEATON: This is no time to abandon sound hiring practices for health workers

I was completely taken aback to hear the Minister on Friday contemplate abandoning the practice of conducting interviews for healthcare jobs. I do not and cannot support this in any way, shape, or form.

Even though we are in a health crisis, it does not mean the Minister should just abandon sound hiring practices. That is unfair to the worker you just hired, the team that is struggling on the frontlines, and it is absolutely unfair to Islanders who are depending on government to meet their healthcare needs through diligent planning. This is another example of the Minister making decisions in silos without consultation with key stakeholders.

It is now absolutely clear, and beyond all question, the Minister is struggling in his role and grasping at anything he thinks might help him. His lack of awareness and planning is as dangerous as it is disheartening.

Since the King government has come into power, we’ve watched healthcare professionals leave because they are unsupported, we’ve heard from frontline staff facing burnout, and we’ve seen promise after promise broken on important programs and services that Islanders are desperately needing.

We have also heard Premier King suggest it is unrealistic for Islanders to expect access to a family doctor but has not put forward a viable plan to transition to another solution. Now we are watching his Minister begin the process of privatizing healthcare.

Since the Minister took over the Health and Wellness portfolio, he has privatized mobile mental health, and now he is privatizing primary healthcare by hiring a private company to provide paramedics to do the work of nurses at Prince County Hospital.

With the Minister’s surprise announcement that he’s considering skipping the interview process for healthcare candidates, the King government is once again abandoning its responsibility to Islanders.

Michele Beaton, MLA

Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness