The Nova Scotia Health Authority says it doesn’t get enough money from the province to do all the necessary repairs and renovations to its buildings.
It says a $10 million yearly fund is supposed to cover repairs and renovations for more than 100 buildings across the province. Asked whether it’s enough money, CFO Allan Horsburgh said “No, no it’s not and we know that, but again we understand the situation the province is in.”
“We have to spread a very tiny dollar amount through a wide area.”
The comments were made in response to photos posted by hospital visitor Bill Turpin which raised questions about the Victoria General hospital’s state of repair. While concerns around hospital maintenance aren’t new, Turpin said he was “embarrassed” as a Haligonian to see the Centennial building up close.
Turpin said he knows what he saw isn’t new, but says that’s part of the problem. “Government demonstrated they’re not capable of managing this facility,” Turpin said.
Turpin said within a few days of visiting a family member, he saw damaged ceiling tiles, “filthy” floors, and holes in some walls. He said many of the visitor elevators were broken and the service elevators were blocked by beds. When he used the stairway, he said the walls were “grotesque,” saying the drywall looked like the inside of a cave.
In 2015-16 the health authority spent $5.3 million on repairs to the Victoria and Centennial buildings, and the year before that it spent $5.3 million, said spokesperson Theresa Hawkesworth.
Horsburgh agrees that the conditions shown in the pictures are unacceptable and says the hospital will make the necessary repairs.
A “deep clean” was already launched in January and will be ongoing. “We’re developing a plan for an immediate action, we’re also doing inspections of every single floor and every single unit to develop a more comprehensive list,” Horsburgh said.
The Liberal government has said many times it agrees it’s time for the site to be replaced. However, after missing a January deadline to show Nova Scotians the plan for the hospital’s future, no new date has been set.