Trellis fiasco needs to end

Letters

Editor:

Re: “Trellis gives new meaning to long term,” Editorial, Nov. 1.

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It is encouraging to see John Gleeson acknowledge that when vital public services are placed in private hands, public good comes a distant second to the drive for profit. The attempt by successive Liberal and NDP administrations to privatize long-term care on the Coast has been a disastrous failure. The question is, what needs to be done?

As we have demonstrated throughout our campaign, the facts are clear on private versus public care. In general, private facilities deliver inferior health outcomes. Families pay more – often much more. Volunteer services suffer, and the public system bears the brunt of the lower threshold private operators exercise for transferring ill patients to acute care.

Mr. Gleeson describes how Trellis was presented as “a company with a proven track record in residential care.” That track record includes citations for major violations of care protocol and an egregious history of contract flipping. Contrary to what some local politicians claim, contract flipping has not been banned. The stipulation that companies purchasing care or service contracts must honour existing labour agreements means little if the affected workers have already had their wages and benefits driven down by previous contract flips.

It’s no mystery why governments choose to turn essential health care services over to private operators. It’s all about getting expenses off the books. In the long run, a private long-term care facility in our community would carry enormous costs to residents and their families, to the public health care system, and to taxpayers.

Health Minister Adrian Dix needs to stop putting profit-taking over public good. He must commit immediately to build a publicly funded and operated care facility in our community, and to begin a process of meaningful engagement with stakeholder groups. The Trellis fiasco has already done great harm and needs to end now.

Wendy Hunt, Chair, Protect Public Health Care – Sunshine Coast

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