Health and Community Services
February 27, 2008

Minister Corrects Inaccurate Portrayal of Plans for St. John�s Health Care Services

The Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community Services, in his response today to inaccuracies in recent media coverage on health care services in the St. John�s area, stressed the need for the people of the province to have a clear understanding based on correct information.

"We committed in our most recent Blueprint to a redevelopment of hospitals in St. John�s for enhanced acute care services, with the goal of developing a long-term plan that best meets the needs of our residents," said Minister Wiseman. "Our government has provided $500,000 to start a process for planning of future acute care services and programs for the area. At no time have I ever indicated that a St. John�s hospital will close and it is irresponsible for anyone to indicate otherwise. No such decisions have been made and any media reports to that effect are completely unfounded."

One specific media story linked a recent public tender call by Eastern Health for clinic space in the St. John�s area with the possible closure of a St. John�s hospital. Minister Wiseman clarified the purpose of the tender and what will result from it.

"Eastern Health issued a public tender that closed on February 14 and they are reviewing the responses now," said Minister Wiseman. "The tender is for space in the St. John�s area that will house both existing clinics that are located in various locations within the city, including the diabetes education and dermatology clinics, as well as newly-funded and expanded services like the eating disorder clinic. It is more than appropriate that such clinics be housed outside of hospitals and a location in the community offers more convenience for patients."

"The tender call for clinic space is a good news initiative by Eastern Health for the benefit of the residents they serve," said Minister Wiseman. "It is unfortunate it was inaccurately portrayed as something that would negatively impact the people of St. John�s and the surrounding areas � the very opposite is true."

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Media contact:

Glenda Power
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 685-1741

2008 02 27                                                     5:00 p.m.

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