GF Strong closure opposed by HEU
Decision made without proper consultation on rehab services, says union A decision by the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board to close a major rehabilitation hospital must be reversed, says B.C.'s largest health care union. The Hospital Employees' Union has learned that the V/RHB plans to close the 100-bed GF Strong rehabilitation hospital on Oak Street. GF Strong is a provincial referral centre for rehabilitation services. More than 250 HEU members work at the site. "This plan was hatched without properly consulting the front-line workers who provide care at GF Strong or the community who depend on rehab services," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "Health board members must delay any decision on this matter until a full public discussion on rehabilitation services can take place." The closing of GF Strong is a surprise recommendation arising from the Review of Acute and Rehabilitation Services (ROARS) by the health board. In the ROARS report last summer, GF Strong was not targeted for closure. In fact, rehab services were not a primary focus of ROARS. Front-line staff and media learned of the closure at briefings Thursday afternoon. "This decision is a complete broadside to our members," says Allnutt, "and completely undermines the consultative approach intended with health care regionalization." "We'll be at tonight's meeting of the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board to speak out against this precipitous move," adds Allnutt. The V/RHB will meet this evening at 7:00 p.m. at 655 West 12th Avenue (back entrance).