Keep Gorge Road public

No public/private partnerships to replace Victoria’s extended care facility, say HEU activists

Before the end of the year, the Capital Health Region will be deciding the fate of Victoria’s 25-year old Gorge Road Hospital as they seek solutions to the extended care facility’s extensive mould problem and numerous building systems failures and code compliance issues. The CHR is moving quickly to resolve the situation and is seriously considering replacement of the facility through public/private partnerships (P3s). The decision will significantly impact 96 people with disabilities and 191 seniors for whom the Gorge is home, those who need the 30 rehabilitation beds, many others who access the Work Readiness Program and the Psoriasis Clinic and more than 375 HEU members. CHR staff recommendations currently favour the replacement of the publicly-operated Gorge Road Hospital through public/private partnerships. The region is hoping to issue a Request for Proposals approximately mid-November. Given that process, construction could begin in the spring of 2001. “Public/private partnerships have no place in health care and that includes extended care facilities like Gorge Road,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Any replacement plans for the Gorge Road Hospital must remain public to ensure that residents’ housing, care and services, not profits, are the top priority.” Allnutt put concerns about the Gorge Road replacement proposals before Minister of Health, Mike Farnworth, at a meeting last week and specifically called for public, or public/non-profit, solutions. The Gorge’s 30 rehabilitation beds, the Work Readiness Program and the Psoriasis Clinic must also be maintained, and improved, within the public system. Proposals to relocate these to Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospitals are being pursued. Allnutt met with HEU Gorge Road local members last night to develop an action plan that will move the fight to keep the extended care facility public out into the community. A delegation will be at the CHR board meeting October 4 to speak out against the use of public/private partnerships to replace the Gorge.