PEMBROKE, Ont. Hidden costs, increasing compensation, legal disputes are “the norm when contracted services go awry,” said Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) President Michael Hurley at a Pembroke media conference today that outlined the risky business of outsourcing.

The Pembroke Regional Hospital has contracted-out the sterilization of surgical equipment to a Greater Toronto Area (GTA) company. A spokesperson for company (SteriPro) recently divulged to Pembroke media that a contract between SteriPro and Trillium Health Partners was terminated early ― six years before the end of the deal ― and that the company got compensated a significant amount of money by Trillium.

Regardless of who terminated the contract – SteriPro or Trillium – the documented facts are “that the contract terms and conditions were in dispute and that the company got paid a lot of money to end the deal. The problem is that the Pembroke hospital will be extremely challenged to police this type of contract. When there are contested or disputed issues, it does not have the resources, administration and legal staff needed,” said Hurley.

Because the contract is kept secret, only the Pembroke hospital and SteriPro will have all the details about how public money is being used, how the deal is structured and what could be in dispute.

“Our community may never know the full details of the deal with this company, particularly if something goes wrong. What we do know is the hospital has taken jobs out of Pembroke. There are many people in the community not happy about that,” said Simone Burger, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1502 representing front line staff at the Pembroke Regional Hospital.

A recent poll of the Pembroke community found virtually no support for contracting-out surgical equipment sterilization by the Pembroke hospital. 95 per cent said they think that the hospital has an obligation to keep work in Pembroke whenever possible.

“Quality issues dogged the Trillium contract, we believe. Now we also know that escaping from a bad deal also cost the hospital significantly. This is a quality problem the Pembroke Hospital doesn’t have now and should at all costs avoid
and a financial problem that it also cannot afford,” said Hurley.

Another important factor in the contract is the transport of surgical equipment down the highway from the western GTA to Pembroke. “To suggest that this is okay, flies in the face of any environmental impacts and considerations,” said Hurley.

For further information:

Michael Hurley
President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications