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HEU’s Grinch paid a surprise visit to St. Paul’s Hospital on December 11 and while his appearance created delight and amusement, he carried a serious message to the facility’s workers - Providence Health Care is set to contract out critical in-house cleaning and security services to private companies.

The Grinch and his entourage handed out pink-slip warnings and fight-back fortune cookies to privatization-threatened staff as the crew made their way around the facility.

Providence Health Care wants to contract out hospital housekeeping and security at St. Paul’s - and that may be just the beginning. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has identified more than 30 areas in health services and support as privatization targets including: Diagnostic Lab, Diagnostic Imaging, Pharmacy, Plant Maintenance/Operations, Nutrition Services, Information Systems, Housekeeping, Finance, Human Resources, Health Records, Laundry/Linen, Materiel Management, Research, Social Work, Planning, Physiotherapy, Admitting, Respiratory Therapy, Security, Biomedical, Occupational Therapy, Other Therapies, Switchboard, Telecommunications, Communications, Volunteer Resources, Pastoral Care, Speech Therapy, Quality Assurance, Utilization, Management Diversity and more.

Despite the important message and the best efforts of management-types, the workers’ spirits remained high as they clearly enjoyed the seasonal character’s hi-jinx and appreciated the support.

The Grinch is on the move in the Lower Mainland so keep an eye out for the shaggy, green creature. Look for signs of the Mean One in the days and weeks to come.