Private hospital in Abbotsford would cost more — report

News release

Uncensored version of consultant’s report reveals cooked numbers, says HEU

The censored information contained in a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report released yesterday indicates that a privately built and operated hospital in Abbotsford will cost taxpayers more, says the Hospital Employees’ Union.

“It’s clear that the numbers in this report are completely cooked to make a private hospital more palatable,” says HEU secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic. “PriceWaterhouseCoopers has provided a recipe for huge corporate profits that sticks the people of the Fraser Valley with huge risks.”

The uncensored version of the report obtained by HEU indicates that a privately financed and built hospital would only save one per cent over a publicly financed model — but only after applying a generous and arbitrary six per cent “discount” to a private hospital bid.

The report also recommends privatizing a range of health services from housekeeping to kidney dialysis and emergency room care.

“The bottom line: The Campbell Liberals are pushing private health care at any cost,” says Bosancic.

And nobody should be surprised that PriceWaterhouseCoopers is recommending a full-scale private hospital for Abbotsford, adds Bosancic. “They’ve pushed this exact model for years in the U.K. where they also have a financial interest in several hospital projects.

“But in the U.K. the costs of privatization have been very high and include a 30 per cent decrease in the number of hospital beds, a 25 per cent decrease in clinical staff budgets and a loss of public accountability.”

“It’s outrageous that in the post-Enron world, the Campbell Liberals would accept advice on options for building a new hospital from a firm that so clearly works both sides of the street in order to push privatization.”

HEU will submit the uncensored report to an independent auditor for close scrutiny. And the union is repeating its call for a moratorium on health care privatization pending an independent inquiry.

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-456-7039 (direct); 604-828-6771 (cell)