Health authority stalling release of Abbotsford hospital privatization study, says HEU
Public denied information, input as Victoria secretly decides fate of new health facility
The PricewaterhouseCoopers study on privatization and other options for the new hospital promised to Abbotsford residents last spring is finished according to Premier Campbell, but the Fraser Health Authority is stalling on its public release says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).
“Campbell says the study was finished two weeks ago and would be going to cabinet in early March. If the information is ready, why isn’t it going to the people now?” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “What have they got to hide?” “The secrecy surrounding the private hospital scheme hatched by the Campbell Liberals last fall is outrageous. And what’s more, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multi-national which benefits financially from so-called public/private partnerships, is providing the information upon which cabinet will make their decision.”
Five weeks ago, HEU filed a Freedom of Information request to gain access to the report when the union received word from reliable sources that the study had been completed. And in addition to health authority foot-dragging in complying with the request, HEU will have to pay $645 in order to gain access to the information when the health authority sees fit to to release it. It’s a huge cost, says Allnutt, that makes access to this information too expensive for most British Columbians.
“We filed the FOI in the public interest to gain access to critical documents that should be freely available to everyone,” says Allnutt. “Vital information that the Campbell Liberals and the health authority don’t want the public to know is shaping decisions in Victoria. We’re pushing hard to make sure that the public has a say in this critical issue.”
Allnutt says his union has filed additional FOIs so that the public can gain access to a broad range of critical information about the proposal for a private hospital in Abbotsford.
HEU went public with news of the Campbell government’s secret scheme to build a privately funded, owned and partly operated hospital last October.