(This letter was sent to Heath Minister Adrian Dix and copied to Coast Reporter.)
As the group that has spearheaded opposition to Vancouver Coastal Health’s contract with Trellis Seniors Services, we at Protect Public Health Care - Sunshine Coast urge you to safeguard the future of quality care in our community.
It has now been 18 months since Vancouver Coastal Health announced its intention to close Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe and replace them with a private for-profit facility in West Sechelt – a decision made without consultation with local stakeholders. It was in response to this high-handed treatment by the health authority that our coalition was founded.
Since our formation in September 2016, we have led a number of highly successful actions, including a petition campaign that garnered over 10,000 signatures. The message of that campaign was clear: private, for-profit ownership of senior care is not welcome on the Sunshine Coast.
The NDP-Green coalition has now been in power for almost five months. While we appreciate that the implementation of new policies is a complex and cumbersome process, we are dismayed by developments so far. The exclusion of stakeholders from the decision-making process continues. Worse, there are strong indications that your ministry is negotiating with Vancouver Coastal Health and Trellis about establishing a public-private partnership.
To state our position categorically, public-private partnership is just another name for privatization. As a wealth of research confirms, when the profit motive is introduced into senior care, it’s the patients who suffer. Our community has spoken clearly in favour of public care and will regard the continued involvement of Trellis as a betrayal of our interests.
Wendy Hunt, Chair, Protect Public Health – Sunshine Coast