Ste. Anne's Veterans' Hospital, Quebec
OTTAWA, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Council of Veteran Associations (57 member groups) today questioned the reason why the Government of Canada would consider transferring control of Canada's last veterans' hospital to the province of Quebec at a time when many of the province's veterans are at or approaching the age that they will require long-term care.
A news release issued by Veterans Affairs Canada this week confirmed that the Government has begun preliminary discussions with the Government of Quebec toward the potential transfer of Ste. Anne's Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, near Montreal.
The proposed transfer has caused serious concern and anxiety amongst veterans relevant to the priority access to beds that veterans currently enjoy at Ste. Anne's and the effect that a mix of veteran and non-veteran residents will have on their overall standard of care.
NCVA Chairman Cliff Chadderton and Secretary General Brian Forbes have noted that veterans have had a unique relationship with Veterans Affairs longstanding administration of Ste. Anne's and are particularly apprehensive that this recognition would be lost if the hospital was transferred to the province.
They justified their concerns by citing a recent example of a transferred veterans' facility where the province contravened the provisions of the transfer agreement and the Federal Government failed to enforce the terms and requirements of the agreement.
In the event that the Government of Canada continues to pursue this transfer negotiation, it is the position of NCVA that an ironclad transfer agreement would be essential with a strong, enforceable commitment as to the question of priority access to beds and the level of care.
NCVA also pointed out that Regular Force veterans currently rely on Ste. Anne's for its expertise in treating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and psychiatric complications arising from service and questioned whether the Government has factored in this growing need as a consequence of the Afghanistan conflict and earlier Canadian military missions.
The NCVA has expressed these significant concerns to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and will continue to hold discussions with the Minister's office to protect the interests of the veterans affected by this potential transfer.
SOURCE National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada
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