Health ministers admit VG wasn’t a priority

This article by CBC reporter Jean Laroche is a must-read:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/victoria-general-hospital-heath-department-1.3414297

It is stunning beyond belief that successive governments haven’t seen the declining conditions of the VG as a priority. That building didn’t suddenly get into its crappy, toxic state since October 2013. Any minister, MLA or Premier who walked in could see the crowding, grubbiness and other problems.

In this 2011 Herald article former Health Minister Maureen MacDonald handed $1 million to Capital Health for a six-month design and planning study into the replacement for the Centennial Building:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/42781-vgs-centennial-building-to-be-demolished-under-new-upgrade-plan

If that study was conducted, everyone went mute on the results. The construction conversation in those days was in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars for a replacement facility, but according to the CBC interview, the then Minister already knew the cost would be over $1.3 billion and that the construction time-line was five years. So why authorize another costly study? Why was no report issued on the design and planning study findings? And why did her government not begin work on a replacement if it was so urgent? They were early enough in their mandate to act. Could it have been because spending that much money wasn’t politically expedient?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Health ministers admit VG wasn’t a priority

    • Thanks for this. I missed it. Interestingly the NDP never referenced it. The Liberals have recently spoken to some of this, but not before the fall. I don’t recall seeing any media coverage of this.

      Capital Health certainly didn’t call attention to this. There were no press releases or photo ops. To find it you have to go to the Capital Health website, then decide to click on the “About Us” in the upper right corner, away from their main headlines. From there you have to drop down 13 items to Facilities Renewal Project, open that and then click Project Overview and Preliminary Designs.

      This summary only says “Decommissioning of the 44-year-old Centennial Building”. It doesn’t speak to replacing it. CEO Janet Knox and the current and past health ministers have more recently spoken of replacing the Centennial Building. In December Ms Knox stood on the edge of the parking lot with the VG in the background and specifically mentioned a $2.5 billion price for a replacement building, leading Nova Scotians to believe that was her plan.

  1. kkllkkl says:

    There is a U.S. saying, “What is not broken, does not need repair”, this plus the fact that the money given to the hospitals goes into 2 non-communicating silos (on one hand, capital money coming from the government and institution foundation; on the other hand, the operational budget which has to be used to pay salaries) makes the funding and desire to repair/maintain inexistant.

    When something is broken beyond repair (another element being public knowledge) then and only then money will be spend with a political gain. Otherwise spending to maintenance is not something that could be advertised for an election. Every government is happy with that.

    Not spending on maintenance, makes the budget smaller. The bucket is passed to the next government. The first one can brag about its capacity to maintain costs, and the second one can put the blame on the previous one… The fact that the report has not been made public and that the actual CEO was not in place gives her the possibility to use the “plausible deniability” argument in case embarassing questions would be asked.

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