Decision to close 205 extended care beds at Burnaby Hospital is wrong, says HEU

News release

Hospital future in jeopardy, as health board ignores widespread public opposition

The Hospital Employees’ Union says the Simon Fraser Health Board’s announced plan to close Burnaby Hospital’s 205-bed, extended care Cascade Residence in the face of widespread opposition from residents, family members, health care workers, politicians and other concerned groups and individuals, is wrong.

The closure — announced to frontline caregivers at 3:00 pm today — cuts Burnaby Hospital’s total bed count of 380 by more than half and places the future of the acute care facility in jeopardy.

“It is unfortunate that the health board is making the wrong decision and moving forward unnecessarily with a plan that will reduce by 100 the number of extended care beds in the region when more beds for aging and frail seniors are urgently needed,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Many people with very legitimate questions and concerns have encouraged the board to slow down and rethink its plans to close Cascade Residence.

“Today’s announcement indicates that the board is not listening to front line health workers, residents and their families, and the broader community.”

Cascade Residence is a functional, public, extended care facility attached to Burnaby Hospital. The health board has decided to close and replace it through a public/not-for-profit partnership with the Burnaby-based New Vista Society.

A new facility will have 150 multi-level care beds and 50 assisted living units for a total of 200 spaces. Of the 150 multi-level care beds, at this point only 100 would be extended care. That’s a 105-bed reduction in extended care.

“It is encouraging that the health board has chosen the New Vista Society as its partner in this project despite the lack of clear direction from Victoria to health authorities to consider public/not-for-profit cooperative ventures,” says Allnutt.

“Partnering with not-for-profit organizations is a better way to build affordable housing and provide health services for our seniors.

Allnutt says that the decision puts more pressure on Victoria to stop stalling on developing solutions to provide better care for seniors. A government-ordered study that outlined a progressive plan to deal with the long-term care bed shortage has been gathering dust since March.

“We have asked for a meeting with newly-appointed health minister Corky Evans to discuss this issue,” says Allnutt.

Tonight, the union will address the Cascade decision at the Simon Fraser Health Board’s meeting, 7:00 p.m. in the Sherbrooke Lounge, 260 Sherbrooke Street, New Westminster.


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For further information, please contact at 604/734-3431: Margi Blamey, communications officer, 604/880-7195 (cell)