Pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship was our best op­tion

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

We are writ­ing to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the pro­cure­ment method be­ing used to build a new long-term care fa­cil­ity and acute care hospi­tal in Cor­ner Brook. These two fa­cil­i­ties, an­nounced ear­lier this year by our gov­ern­ment, will help ad­dress much needed pri­or­ity ser­vices in the western re­gion.

Con­trary to the views stated by Wayne Lu­cas, pres­i­dent of CUPE NL, in his let­ter to the ed­i­tor of Aug. 22, it is crit­i­cal that gov­ern­ment find more ef­fec­tive ways to de­liver ser­vices to im­prove our prov­ince, while ad­dress­ing fis­cal re­al­i­ties. En­sur­ing value for tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars is a crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion as we work to re­duce the prov­ince’s deficit, while build­ing much-needed health in­fra­struc­ture. Part­ner­ships with the pri­vate sec­tor are nec­es­sary to en­sure peo­ple ac­cess ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vices in the cur­rent fis­cal cli­mate.

Sum­maries of the value for money as­sess­ments for both projects have been pub­licly re­leased and are avail­able on­line at http:// ow.ly/p6c030eCWIA. They out­line the in­for­ma­tion used to de­ter­mine the best pro­cure­ment ap­proach to take, in­clud­ing the eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria. The anal­y­sis for the acute care project for ex­am­ple, con­cluded that there is a seven per cent sav­ings us­ing the method out­lined. On a project of this mag­ni­tude, this rep­re­sents tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in sav­ings. As dis­cussed with Mr. Lu­cas, gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to full trans­parency. The full re­sults of the value for money as­sess­ments will be pro­vided when a suc­cess­ful pro­po­nent has been iden­ti­fied. This is nec­es­sary to en­sure there is no in­flu­ence on bids from po­ten­tial pro­po­nents and is con­sis­tent with prac­tices in other ju­ris­dic­tions.

We have heard that it is im­por­tant to the peo­ple of the prov­ince that health-care ser­vices be pro­vided by pub­lic sec­tor work­ers. Hands-on health care will be pro­vided by pub­lic sec­tor work­ers, as is cur­rently the case. This is a com­mit­ment that our gov­ern­ment has made and this will not change. A P3 ap­proach sees the pri­vate sec­tor as­sume a ma­jor share of re­spon­si­bil­ity in terms of risk and fi­nanc­ing, as well as the per­for­mance, from de­sign and con­struc­tion to long-term main­te­nance. It also helps en­sure on-time and on­bud­get de­liv­ery of the project. Pay­ment to the pro­po­nent is trig­gered by the com­ple­tion of the project.

The project agree­ment will be struc­tured so that the hospi­tal and the long-term care fa­cil­ity will be pub­lic as­sets from the date they are op­er­a­tional. The con­trac­tor se­lected will not be paid un­til the fa­cil­i­ties are fully op­er­a­tional.

There are ex­am­ples of suc­cess­ful P3 projects, which are more re­cent than the projects ref­er­enced fre­quently by Mr. Lu­cas. Two such ex­am­ples are the Swift Cur­rent Long Term Care Cen­tre in Saskatchewan, com­pleted on time and on bud­get in 2016, and the In­te­rior Heart Sur­gi­cal Cen­tre in Bri­tish Columbia.

Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to take the nec­es­sary ac­tions to build a strong eco­nomic foun­da­tion, pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices and sup­port bet­ter out­comes while main­tain­ing hands-on health care within the pub­lic sec­tor.

Steve Crocker, min­is­ter Trans­porta­tion and Works Dr. John Hag­gie, min­is­ter Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices

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