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Letter to the Editor Re: Hospitals


Dear editor,


The provincial government has announced that private for-profit corporations will be contracted to build, maintain and manage two hospitals in Ontario.  The government will then enter into long term leases (up to 60 years) to deliver health care in these facilities.


This decision defies common sense and fiscal responsibility.


Most people would rather own their own home than rent.  Why? In the long run it is cheaper and you have more control.


These were the reasons Prince Edward Island recently cancelled a scheme to have the private sector build hospitals.  It was gong to cost to much.


Under Margaret Thatcher the British government developed Private Financial Initiatives to encourage private companies to  build public hospitals.  A recent editorial in the British Medial Journal referred to these as “Perfidious Financial Idiocy” because they added so much cost to the health care system.


Why is it more expensive to use the private sector to build public hospitals?  A quick glance at the bond market shows that it costs more for private corporations to borrow money than governments.  Then there is the profit these companies must charge the public, plus the extra administrative costs of having two administrations, one for the physical plant and one for the health operations, in each hospital.


The provincial government does not what to build the hospitals because it would have to borrow money which shows up on their books as debt.  Yet, a 30 to 60 year lease is just like a long term debt, except is costs us, and our children, more.


It is time for the government to be fiscally responsible and cancel the private contracts to build and manage public hospitals.  The province can not complain about the federal government not giving them more money for health care if they are simply going to waste it making a few people rich.  It is also irresponsible to saddle our children with the added costs and loss of control associated with long term leases.


Instead, let’s be honest.  Borrow the money, build the hospitals, and save money.


Yours sincerely,

         Ross Sutherland