B.C. Liberals fail to deliver plan to renew St. Paul’s Hospital

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VANCOUVER – A comprehensive plan and timeline to renew Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital is still nowhere to be seen, despite the Liberals’ pre-election promise of $500 million to upgrade the facility, say B.C.’s New Democrats.

“The need for infrastructure improvements at St. Paul’s Hospital has been clear for more than 10 years and the Liberals have been promising to deal with it since 2002,” said Vancouver-West End MLA, Spencer Chandra Herbert. “Yet here we are in 2013, and neither a plan nor timeline are anywhere to be seen.”

Thursday, Oct. 17 is the Great B.C. Shakeout, an event designed to test earthquake readiness across the province. Chandra Herbert noted that the shakeout is a stark reminder that the hospital’s inadequate infrastructure would likely crumble in the event of a powerful earthquake. Last summer, Bonnie Maples, a representative for Providence Health Care which runs St. Paul’s Hospital, said that based on a seismic engineering firm’s prediction, “the building will wiggle like mad and practically tear itself apart.”

Chandra Herbert also noted that before the 2013 election, the B.C. Liberals announced they would commit $500 million towards much-needed improvements. However, during the summer sitting of the legislature, Health Minister Terry Lake admitted that most things said during an election “are for political purposes.”

“Making health care commitments purely for political purposes and not following through is not the way to run a health care system,” said New Democrat health critic Judy Darcy.

Darcy added that since the election, the Liberals’ unsustainable budget has forced British Columbians to endure harsh cuts to health services across the province.

“People in B.C. shouldn’t have to fight the government every day to keep their promises and follow through on much-needed health infrastructure improvements,” said Darcy. “If the government doesn’t release a comprehensive plan and timeline soon, I fear St. Paul’s Hospital will become just another broken pre-election promise by the B.C. Liberals.”