A Jamie Baillie Progressive Conservative government will review Stephen McNeil’s shady deal to move outpatient health services from the QEII Health Sciences Centre to a remote area in the Bayers Lake Industrial Park.
In the weeks leading up to the election call, the McNeil Liberals announced they would spend $7.5 million of taxpayer funds to buy land from a private developer and Liberal donor in an untendered deal. The McNeil Liberals plan to make the land at the Whopper Drop location at Bayers Lake the site of a new outpatient health centre, with services being relocated from the QEII Health Sciences Centre.
“We need the Auditor General to review the details of this untendered purchase of land at 12 times the assessed value before any more action is taken on this project,” said Baillie. “Stephen McNeil’s refusal to answer any questions about this shady deal on the eve of an election puts taxpayer dollars at risk and raises major doubts about whether this will result in better health services.”
Halifax Regional Municipality advised the McNeil government that the Whopper Drop location was inconsistent with municipal planning rules. Halifax Mayor Mike Savage added that he was “surprised” the McNeil Liberals would proceed with this location.
Baillie says he wants to see a proper business case for the move, something the McNeil Liberals have failed to produce. The Progressive Conservative leader also wants a public consultation period to gather input from residents on which services can be moved out to a new location and which should remain in the downtown core. The Progressive Conservatives will also seek advice from healthcare professionals.
Halifax Citadel-Sable Island PC candidate Rob Batherson noted that many seniors and persons with disabilities in his constituency are worried about the loss of services to an inaccessible location that has zero access to public transit. Equally worrisome to Batherson is the strong opposition he has heard from dozens of front-line health care professionals.
“Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals tell me they feel shut out from major decisions being made in health care delivery,” said Batherson. “The move of outpatient services away from where doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are working is not only the latest example of this lack of meaningful consultation. It also suggests the McNeil Liberals are prepared to make decisions that aren’t evidence based.”
Last week, PC Leader Jamie Baillie pledged the construction of a new Victoria General hospital as part of the $2 billion Rebuild Nova Scotia Fund, based on the best medical evidence.