Vancouver’s New St. Paul’s Hospital – Public not Catholic

Vancouverites, in their zeal to replace a crumbling St. Paul’s Hospital, have opted to perpetuate the running of a publicly funded hospital by a religious entity.Is this operational leadership still relevant in today’s public health system?

This question elicits a shoulder shrug from most of us, as St. Paul’s Hospital has long provided excellent public care for British Columbians of all denominations. St. Paul’s is renown for its active research focus, work in the areas of heart & kidney disease, nutritional disorders and its work with HIV/Aids.

So, who cares who operates it? They’ve done an admirable job thus far, why change?

Providence Health Care, is the managerial entity that grew out of the 1894 Sisters of Providence, founders of the 1894, twenty five bed St.Paul’s Care Home that spawned the Hospital we see today. Providence Health Care is a far cry from the bunch of Catholic nuns who didn’t separate Catholic devotion from medical care.

But they are still Catholic.
Because of this, we have somehow allowed Providence Health Care to refuse to follow Canada’s 2016 “Assisted Death Law” because it falls outside of their religious beliefs. Patients who qualify under this law are transferred from St. Paul’s to VGH – currently and under the new St. Paul’s Hospital agreement.

Whoa, hold it!

Sorry, that’s just unacceptable. If this is allowed to stand, how far are we from having a publicly funded St. Paul’s Hospital refuse treatment to LGBTQ patients or refuse to perform abortions because their religion doesn’t approve of such treatments? If they aren’t a completely secular hospital, they should not be publicly funded. A public hospital can’t choose, a la carte, which care they will offer, based on scripture.

The new “St, Paul’s” Hospital will be mostly publicly funded. Of the 2,174 billion total price tag, 1.327 billion will come from the provincial government, the St. Paul’s Foundation will raise 125 million, and Providence Health Care will fund the remaining 72.2 million from the proceeds of the sale of the old St. Paul’s to Concord Pacific – a billion dollar price tag.

So, Providence Health Care gets to retain Catholic control of a new public hospital, along with the right to determine what treatments or care don’t violate Catholic beliefs. They get a spanking new hospital for 72.2 million of the one billion they get from Concord Pacific, and they get 28 million in their jeans … er… vestments.

A brand new, well equipped public hospital is long overdue for Vancouverites and Providence Health Care has performed yeoman’s service in operation of St.Paul’s for British Columbians for many years.
This doesn’t mean however, that any publicly funded hospital, can allow religious dogma to trump Canadian law in operational or treatment decisions.

If Providence Health is to remain the operators of St. Paul’s Hospital, they must offer medical services based on the needs of the public, not the dictates of the Catholic Church.

About jimnelson806

Educational consultant from Port Moody. "The Stuff Isn't What's Important" " School Wide Discipline Programmes Don't Work" " Vice Principals are crucial towards setting direction"
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1 Response to Vancouver’s New St. Paul’s Hospital – Public not Catholic

  1. Marg Nelson says:

    Interesting – I hadn’t been following this controversy. Thanks for the heads up!


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