NDP condemns plan to change seniors’ homes to government offices

The government designed the Moose Jaw hospital to be too small using the controversial John Black Lean program, and has a bloated health administration to house. As a result, rooms in the seniors residence in Moose Jaw are being left vacant, despite need, so they can be converted to office space when the new hospital opens.

A letter to seniors living at Pioneers Lodge in Moose Jaw from the Five Hills Health Region reads: “We have not been filling the suites because we are thinking about locating some health region staff in that space when we move to the new hospital in June or July next year.” The letter was signed by Bert Linklater, Five Hills Health Region senior vice president of operations, and obtained by the media.

“We need more spaces and more choices for seniors, not less,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “For this government to convert much needed seniors care beds or affordable housing for seniors into office space to allow the continued spread of their bloated health administration is a result of backward priorities running wild.”

The new Moose Jaw hospital, designed using the controversial Lean 3P process, will be 25,000 square feet smaller than the current Moose Jaw Union Hospital, with 27 fewer inpatient beds including a labour and delivery change from 14 rooms to only six.

“This government has been adding Lean specialists, managers and consultants while the front lines in hospitals are understaffed,” said Wotherspoon. “We should be putting more resources on the front lines and less into management offices. And if the new Moose Jaw hospital design is still too small to accommodate the staff, they need to look at expanding the hospital before it’s too late – not stealing space from seniors homes.”

Pioneers Lodge has 60 long-term beds and 14 short-term stay beds and Pioneer Housing, a low-income seniors housing complex with 24 married housing units and 37 single housing units.

“Can you imagine your parent or grandparent being turned away from a space in seniors care in their own community because this government needed that space for yet another administration office?” Wotherspoon asked. “We need more hospital beds and more seniors care beds – not more offices for highly paid health administration.”

- 30 -

For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus