(This letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix regarding the March 19 constituency meeting in Sechelt was copied to Coast Reporter.)
Dear Mr. Dix:
Without exception, everyone who rose to ask a question on Monday night spoke against the privatization of long-term care (LTC) and specifically the Trellis/VCH contract. Repeated mention was made of the absence of community and stakeholder consultation and the secrecy with which this very questionable deal was made. Evidence that confirms the superiority of public over private LTC and the negative effects of privatization on residents, staff and community was cited by several speakers. Apparently you consider the loss of thousands of hours of Auxiliary and Hospice volunteer time of no consequence. These volunteer organizations provide end-of-life comfort and a variety of activities for LTC residents. The Hospital Auxiliary raises hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, much of which is used for the purchase of specialized equipment. They are not permitted to donate time, equipment or money to a private, for-profit organization. It also appears that you were unmoved by a petition containing 10,000 opposition signatures.
It was clear that the threat by Trellis to move the site of a building to Gibsons was never a serious proposition. This merely diverted attention from what was really going on behind closed doors. Meetings were being held that continued to exclude Sunshine Coast citizens from having a say in the future of public LTC in their community. Your insistence that this is a done deal with a contract that cannot be broken is disingenuous. Any first year law student could easily extricate you from that contract.
You insist that this is the best deal that could be made. Clearly, the message from this constituency is that the deal struck between VCH and Trellis Inc. almost two years ago is still hotly contested, widely unpopular and wholly unacceptable.
Wendy Hunt, Chair, Protect Public Health Care – Sunshine Coast