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Fraser Health removes key information about Surrey Hospital P3 decision from documents

The public is still in the dark about why the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) is using a public-private partnership (P3) for the financing, construction and operation of the Surrey Ambulatory Care Facility despite initially opposing this approach.

Key information related to the decision was deleted from 35 pages of heavily censored documents released to the BC Health Coalition under freedom of information legislation.

The FHA wrote that disclosure of the information -would reveal the substance of deliberations of meetings of the Fraser Healths governing body, or a committee thereof, that were held in the absence of the public as permitted by the Health Authorities Act."

An earlier coalition FOI request revealed that top FHA officials overseeing the project had concluded last June that -P3s are not first choice of the committee" and noted that with P3s -there is a lesser ability to control design, longer lead times and additional risk." They also concluded that -a P3 strategy tends to be slower."

Two of the officials at that and subsequent planning meetings have since left FHA. Former board chair Keith Purchase resigned after a high profile disagreement with the provincial government. Former facilities vice president Mary Ackenhusen has left to work in another health authority.

Last month, the B.C. government announced that a new Surrey Outpatient Hospital at Green Timbers will be a P3 despite earlier concerns raised by the FHA.

-B.C. taxpayers and the residents of Surrey deserve to know the reasons why the FHA changed its mind about private financing and operation of its outpatient facility," says Maryann Abbs, coordinator of the BC Health Coalition.

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For more information contact: Maryann Abbs, Coordinator, BC Health Coalition; 604-681-7945; 604-787-6541(cell)

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