Victoria will build Abbotsford hospital if private sector doesn’t, Hansen commits

News release

Capital funding commitment key to ensure community has real options, choices says HEU

Fraser Valley residents won’t be forced to accept a privately built and owned health care facility to replace the aging MSA General, according to minister of health services Colin Hansen.

During a lunchtime media scrum at Premier Campbell’s health summit in Vancouver yesterday, Hansen faced a number of tough questions about the proposed private hospital scheme. But the health minister offered reassurances that Fraser Valley residents would have the opportunity to make real choices about how their new hospital will be built.

Asked by one reporter if the provincial government would build the hospital if the private hospital scheme didn’t go ahead, Hansen was unequivocal. “Yes, of course,” he responded.

Hospital Employees’ Union spokesperson Chris Allnutt said Hansen’s comments are a sign that the Liberals may be set to back down from their hard line approach. Until yesterday, Victoria seemed fixated that the hospital would be private, or it wouldn’t be built at all.

“This could be a very positive development,” said Allnutt. “Hansen’s commitment means that government will provide the necessary capital funds to build a publicly owned and operated facility if that’s what the community chooses.”

“And, based on the evidence, building a conventional publicly owned and financed health care facility will provide the best quality health care services and the cheapest cost over the long run.”