St. Paul's Hospital move not up for debate in public forums, says operator

Providence Health says it is committed to relocating St. Paul's Hospital to the False Creek Flats area, as the first of eight public forums on the issue begin in Vancouver.

First of eight public forums on hospital move begins in Vancouver on Tuesday

Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital will close and a new facility will be built in East Vancouver, near Main Street and Terminal Avenue. (Joe Mabel)

Residents in Vancouver's West End will have a chance to air their concerns about a controversial move planned for St. Paul's Hospital as the first of eight public forums gets underway Tuesday morning — but operator Providence Health says there is no chance its plans to relocate the hospital will change. 

Providence Health says it is committed to the $1.2 billion plan to move the hospital from its Burrard Street location to Vancouver's False Creek Flats announced last year, because 60 per cent of patients come from outside of Vancouver. 

"We're needing to consider the needs of Vancouver and of the entire province and we're able to do that in a much better way on the ... site we're moving to," said CEO Diane Doyle.

But Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert says the move puts the health of patients — many of whom are seniors — at risk.

"To somebody who has specifically moved so they can be close, that's kind of insulting because they were assured right before the last election that their hospital would be rebuilt in place," he said.

Doyle calls the new St. Paul's Hospital one of the "most complex capital builds undertaken in Canada at this point in time."

And although the hospital relocation is not up for discussion, she says, Providence Health is looking for public input on a range of topics, such as easing traffic congestion to the new hospital, and ensuring appropriate care for seniors. 

A series of eight public forums start Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. PT and continue Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Anglican Church on Jervis Street, Vancouver.


To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: New St. Paul's Hospital public forums.

With files from The Early Edition

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