Quebec government must say why it's evicting vulnerable seniors from a
quality long-term care facility: CSN

MONTREAL, May 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec government must explain why it's pulling the plug on one of the province's top-rated long-term care centres, throwing dozens of frail senior citizens out of the homes that some have occupied for decades, says the CSN.

The 160 long-term care beds in the Griffith-McConnell Residence, 90 of which depend on government subsidies, are slated to be emptied by the end of June. The United Church, which operates the centre as a non-profit organization, was forced close the centre after the Montreal regional health and social services board suddenly withdrew its funding this spring.

"At a time when the Island of Montreal is experiencing a severe shortage of long-term care beds for our most vulnerable citizens, the Liberal government is callously and carelessly ensuring that one of our best facilities can no longer operate," Jeff Begley, vice-president of the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN), said during a press conference this morning.

Mr. Begley identified the Minister delegated to social services, Lise Thériault, and her political superior, Health Minister Yves Bolduc, as the responsible ministers for the file. "These ministers must tell the residents of the Griffith McConnell Residence and their families why they refusing to ensure they have access to high-quality long-term care beds," he said.

The FSSS-CSN has unsuccessfully tried several times to obtain a satisfactory explanation from government authorities for the decision, which will mean more people will be forced to accept lower-quality care at higher costs for them and the government.

Requiring up to two hours of staff intervention each day, the residents of the Griffith McConnell were accustomed to a high level of care, noted Jean-Philippe Grad, regional vice-president for the FSSS-CSN.

"In fact, this centre had earned the coveted Canadian accreditation, which is conferred on facilities that provide the highest standards of treatment," Grad noted.

For Gregory Bruce, the president of the 160-member Griffith-McConnell Workers Union-CSN, the imminent closure is a blow to the social fabric of Montreal's anglophone community. "We've been helping our elderly neighbours for almost 50 years here in Côte St. Luc," he said. "Most of our members have worked here for more than 20 years, so we have grown close to our clients and their families. This is a huge loss for us."

Jeff Begley is appealing to the Quebec government to make one last review of the decision, underlining the fact that Lise Thériault has frequently commented on the need for Quebec to assure quality care for seniors in private care facilities. "Yet, here we have a private centre that offers the highest quality care and the minister appears to be closing her eyes to this bad decision. But it's not too late - Quebec can still avoid making a big mistake," he insisted.


For further information: For further information: Lyle Stewart, CSN Communications Service, (514) 796-2066

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