Vancouver Coastal Health Authority holds first public meeting tonight but key decisions already made, says health coalition

News release

B.C. Health Coalition News Release

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority’s first public Board of Directors meeting is a year too late and limited in its public input, says a medicare advocacy group. More than 40 groups applied to appear before the VCHA board but only eight are on tonight’s agenda.

“It’s appalling that this government appointed board has been able make critical decisions about local health care services behind closed doors,” said Terrie Hendrickson, coordinator for the B.C. Health Coalition. “The decisions already made have long term consequences on every aspect of health care in this region and we can already feel the effects.”

Some of those decisions include: closing long-term care facilities including Cooper Place in the Downtown Eastside and Olive Devaud in Powell River; privatizing public hospital spaces such as the Ambulatory Care Facility at VGH without even presenting a business case for the project; contracting out the jobs of more than a thousand housekeepers and a hundred in-house security officers; and canceling or reducing vital housekeeping services that allow many seniors and the disabled to live independently while at the same time restricting access to personal care services, and, cutting community-based programs such as the Vancouver Women's Health Collective's Patient's Rights workshop offered to women facing barriers to accessing appropriate, quality health care.

“We need a governance structure that is responsive to the needs of the community,” said Hendrickson, “ and it is obvious that the VCHA needs to go a long way to ensure public input.”

At the public meeting tonight there will be eight formal presentations, but the B.C. Health Coalition is expecting many more to attend the question and answer session. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. at the Roundhouse Community Centre located at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Vancouver.

-30- For more information contact Terrie Hendrickson at 604-681-7945.