Event: P3 Privatization of St. Mary’s and the Kingston Psychiatric Hospitals

Economist David MacDonald and Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra will be among panelists speaking at a public meeting in Kingston October 26 on the privatization of proposed replacement for St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital and the Providence Care Mental Health Services (formerly the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital).

The redevelopment of the hospitals is forecast to cost $350 million as a public-private partnership (P3) – a sum the town hall organizers say could be as much as $100 million more than had it been developed under a more traditional public procurement model.

To date the government has refused to release any of the background documents justifying the decision.

Three consortiums were shortlisted for the redevelopment at the end of August. Among them is a consortium involving the same facilities management company that presently runs the Royal Ottawa hospital in Ottawa (see link below for OPSEU’s Risky Business report on the Royal Ottawa P3).

Final proposals for the 270-bed hospital are expected this fall.

Kingston city counsellor Rob Hutchison said that when the municipality voted to contribute $16 million towards the redevelopment they had no idea that the new hospital would be placed in private hands.

“These P3s tend to cost a lot more money over time,” Hutchison told the Kingston Whig Standard in September. “This has been known for years that P3s are costing far more  to build than if they government had just borrowed the money.”

MPP John Gerretsen told the newspaper that the government didn’t have the money to pay for infrastructure projects, but seems to miss the point that the private sector does not build and maintain new hospitals for free.

There are 42 health care-related P3 projects listed in the province, including the recently scrapped Diabetes Registry.

When: Friday, October 26 / 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Where: Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson St.
Admission: Free (donations to the Kingston Health Coalition welcome)

David Macdonald is the Senior Ottawa Economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Since 2008, he has coordinated the Alternatives Federal Budget, which takes a fresh look at the federal budget from a progressive perspective. David has also written on a variety of topics, from Canada’s real estate bubble to Aboriginal income inequality, and he is a regular media commentator on national policy issues.

As director of the Ontario Health Coalition, Natalie Mehra works with more than 70 local chapters and more than 400 provincial-based organizations committed to public health care. She has spent the last decade building the health coalition into the largest and broadest public interest group on health care in Ontario. Mehra has been a board member for a number of human rights, arts, health, advocacy, disability, and women’s organizations, and currently sits on the board of the Canadian Health Coalition. Prior to joining the Health Coalition, Natalie served as the executive director of the Epilepsy Association in Kingston and Brockville.

This town hall meeting is being organized by the Kingston Health Coalition.

More Diablogue stories on P3s:

In the UK young people today will pay for that country’s privatized hospitals until they are well into their 70s.

P3s deserve to be an election issue even if nobody wants to talk about it.

Other P3 Links:

P3s don’t provide value for money — UK Treasury Committee

Risky Business: OPSEU’s 2007 report on the P3 Royal Ottawa Hospital

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