New healthcare facilities in Corner Brook will be built and maintained by for-profit companies, a major shift in government procurement policy. NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says the Liberal reversal from its stance of two years ago simply passes increased costs on to future year. In addition, she points out, government has not provided any solid figures that show privately built and maintained hospitals are the least cost option for the province.
“In 2015 the Member for Bay of Islands told a group of protesters, ‘When I fought for long term care in Corner Brook and am still fighting, it wasn’t to allow a B.C. company to come into our province and make a profit off the most vulnerable citizens in Newfoundland and Labrador. I can tell you here today that a Liberal government, if formed, will not privatize healthcare in this province. You have our commitment on that,’” Michael said in Question Period today.
“Since gaining power this government has decided to privatize the design, construction and maintenance of hospital and long term care facilities in Corner Brook. I ask the Premier, why is it now OK to allow a B.C. company to come into our province and make a profit off our most vulnerable citizens
Michael says the Value for Money Assessments for the Corner Brook hospital and long term care projects are skimpy to the point of telling the public almost nothing. She pointed out that one of the claims from the previous government that Muskrat Falls was our least cost option for electricity supply, a mistake we’ll be paying for generations to come.
She also asks why minimizing the total cost to the public was not one of the procurement objectives government provided to the Value for Money assessment. “Surely,” she said, “If they’re going to justify privatizing hospital buildings because of cost, they should have stipulated that the project could not cost more than if it was built through the usual process.”