HEU MSA members to oppose private hospital scheme at Fraser Valley Health Board meeting tonight

News release

Members of the Hospital Employees’ Union from MSA General Hospital in Abbotsford will attend tonight’s meeting of the Fraser Valley Health Board to speak against proposed plans to replace the ageing hospital with a health facility financed, owned and partly operated by private investors.

Joyce Giroux, who works in MSA’s operating rooms and is secretary-treasurer of the HEU MSA local, and Ken Britz, one of the hospital’s cooks, are on the local’s `Organizing Against Private Hospitals’ committee. They will be available for comment at tonight’s Fraser Valley Health Board meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the board’s offices, 34194 Marshall Road in Abbotsford.

Last month, HEU went public with the news that the provincial government was secretly finalizing the private hospital deal for Abbotsford without consulting Fraser Valley residents. The model for the privatization plan — the private finance initiative (PFI) — was developed in Britain by Margaret Thatcher’s right-wing government in the early 1990s.

According to the British Medical Journal and other reputable British publications, similar hospital projects in Britain have been plagued with problems including huge cost overruns and diminished patient care services. But they’ve proven to be cash cows for investors with real rates of return ranging from 15 to 24 per cent.

“Evidence from Britain clearly demonstrates that private hospital deals undermine public health care,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Fraser Valley residents have fought long and hard for a new health facility and were expecting a public hospital, not a private hospital with profit-seeking investors behind it. The community deserves better.”