HEU vows to fight closure of Saint Mary’s in New Westminster

Three other hospitals have surgical levels downgraded as new CEO moves on Liberals’ reckless health care agenda

New Fraser Health Authority CEO Bob Smith hasn’t wasted any time implementing the Campbell Liberals’ destructive health care agenda. But HEU beat him to the punch by leaking today Smith’s plans to close Saint Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster hours before the government-appointed health boss met with staff. HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says that it’s the first closure of an urban hospital and another example of Liberal lies.

“Nothing was said about plans to close Saint Mary’s during the government’s marathon news conference in April when health authorities were outlining plans for the future delivery of health services,” says Allnutt. “Once again, here’s a plan hatched behind closed doors.”

And Saint Mary’s was not the only bad news announced this afternoon. Mission Memorial, Delta and Eagle Ridge hospitals have been downgraded and will only provide elective surgeries Monday through Friday. Surgeries will continue 24/7 at Royal Columbian, Surrey Memorial, Burnaby, Langley Memorial, Peace Arch, Ridge Meadows, Chilliwack General and MSA.

Allnutt says that Burnaby Hospital — where HEU members, other health workers, seniors and the community-at-large have come together to defend health services — has been given a new lease on life and proves that public protest is effective in influencing critical changes to health care.

“The commitment that HEU makes to residents of New Westminster and the surrounding area is that we will work with you to turn around the government’s decision to close Saint Mary’s,” he says.

The FHA’s bombshell comes one day after HEU members voted an overwhelming 89 per cent in support of a comprehensive action plan to fight the Campbell government’s attacks on health care.

“Members are ready to take action,” says Allnutt, “to protect our health care system and to fight facility closures, service cuts and rampant privatization.”