Friends of St. Paul's Hospital

The West End Seniors´ Network, West End Citizens´ Action Network
and Vancouver Community Forums, are pleased to co-host a
Friends of St. Paul´s forum of interest to residents 55 years of age and over

Providence Health Care has a vision for the redevelopment of St. Paul´s Hospital that includes the retention of senior services at the Burrard Street location. At a Friends forum on April 11th, Peter Jackman, President, Downtown Vancouver Association, talked about the realities and challenges facing our health care system, one of which he identified as the looming silver-haired tsunami.

With a large older adult population in the West End and with the West End Seniors´ Network serving the interests of that population it was a natural outcome that we should all come together to offer a forum that will be of interest to our older adults.


This is a forum where participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the senior services proposed by Providence Health Care. Neil MacConnell, VP, Legacy Project, Providence Health Care, accompanied by medical professionals, will make a brief presentation on their vision about what these services may or may not include. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in conversations with the experts informally, around tables in small groups, so that everyone can ask questions and become more informed on the issue.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Barclay Manor, 1447 Barclay Street

Light refreshments will be served.

Seating is limited. Reserve your space below

Please complete the following and click submit
to reserve for each guest

Email Address


Introduction to Friends of St. Paul´s Hospital

Report on the April 11th Forum
Our Community Health: The Future of St. Paul´s Hospital


Introduction to Friends of St. Paul´s Hospital


Friends of St. Paul´s Hospital was created as an initiative of the West End Citizens´ Action Network to stimulate informed conversations about the issues surrounding the redevelopment of St. Paul´s Hospital. At issue is whether the hospital will remain at its Burrard Street location or be relocated to the False Creek area and the interests involved and affected in the role St. Paul´s plays in our community, the need for accessibility to quality medical care, safety and financial issues, and the heritage value of the 1932 Burrard Building.

   St. Paul´s Hospital   

St. Paul´s Hospital is an acute care, teaching, and research hospital with a proud history that began when Mother Emilie Gamelin founded the Sisters of Providence in Montreal in 1843. Named after Bishop Paul Durieu and founded on the pledge of providing compassionate care, St. Paul´s Hospital began as a 25-bed institution on the outskirts of Vancouver in 1894. St. Paul´s Hospital is No 8 on Heritage Vancouver's 2007 Top Ten Endangered Sites

Interests and opinions vary from those who prefer to see the hospital stay in its current location, to those who prefer to see it relocated, and to those who haven´t yet formed an opinion or who have other ideas. Friends of St. Paul´s Hospital are pleased to introduce you to others who have an interest in the future of the hospital. We have provided links to those who have a stated interest and a point of view. You will find information to help you develop your own position on the issue and take whatever action you feel is appropriate.


Report on the Conversation


Our Community Health: the Future of St. Paul's Hospital, the first forum brought to the community by Friends of St. Paul's Hospital was held on April 11th, 2007 at the Coast Plaza Hotel. The four panel members presented different views on the topic that served as the basis for table conversations with the participants following their remarks.

Sheryl Williamson-Harms encountered travel problems that prevented her from attending the forum. She sent along a brief statement that was read on her behalf by Eva Murray, moderator of the event's forum. Here is an excerpt from her text:

If I were with you tonight I'd be asking a lot of questions. In my absence, I'd like to leave you with this quote from Stephen Young from his book Micro Messaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words.

Questions are far more effective than defensive statements. They do not imply agreement, but they do convey interest and a desire to understand and facilitate an environment for peak performance. The next time someone accuses you of virtually anything, ask some questions. Resolving the situation may take more time, but the outcome will likely be more productive for both of you.

Peter Jackman, President, Downtown Vancouver Association, said the DVA wants the best medical solution for the region and if that means changing the status quo that should be considered. Whatever is next for St. Paul's, he said, dialogue is vital to ensure we end up better off.

Peter addressed the challenges and realities facing our health care system: its rising costs, the need for sustainability, and our aging population. On average people in their 50´s use $2,100 in health care each year; people in their 70´s use double that; and for those in their 90´s that number balloons to more than $22,000 per year. Delivering what will surely become the quote of the forum, he identified this reality as the looming silver-haired tsunami. Clearly, says Peter, staying the course is not going to work in the long run. In seeking the best solutions for the downtown and the region, there is a need to consider and review all options.

Acknowledging the economic impact the hospital has on the downtown, residents and DVA members, along with the increasing density and population and development in the downtown, Peter said the DVA would not take a position until all the facts are available about possible changes at St. Paul´s. At that time the DVA will be involved in the public consultation he said, emphasizing again the need for dialogue.

Lyn Hellyar, the Executive Director of the West End Business improvement Association, is aware of the impact St. Paul´s Hospital has on the quality of life for many residents, and on the business community. For Lyn, St. Paul´s forms the linchpin of a vast medical infrastructure that includes institutions that provide core health services and have a dependant relationship with the hospital: clinics, drug stores, laboratories, and of course many doctors. In addition, there are peripheral businesses that benefit from the proximity of the hospital: hotels, restaurants, dry cleaners, retail stores and many more. At the same time, these businesses provide essential services for the many patients and visitors from across the province that come to St. Paul´s for medical care.

Reading from a survey conducted by Communitas Social Research and Consulting Group in late 2005, it was clear to Lyn that the loss of the hospital would have a devastating impact on the economic and social fabric of the community. At the same time she was encouraged by the recent information shared by Providence Health Care about its vision to retain some medical services at the Burrard Street location. She was also encouraged by a meeting she and a small group had last spring with Health Minister George Abbott when they met with him to discuss their concerns about St. Paul´s. He assured the group that there would be fair consultation before any decisions were made. Lyn looks forward to a satisfactory and well understood outcome - whatever that may be.

Neil MacConnell, VP, Legacy Project, Providence Health Care, invited Dr. Carere, Program Director for the Cardiac Program at St. Paul´s, to join him at the forum and he too was available to answer questions at the table conversations.

Neil talked about Providence Health Care´s more than 100 years´ history as a health care provider and noted how services have changed during that time and how they will continue to improve into the future. There are many problems at St. Paul´s with buildings that were designed over 35 years ago for a different kind of care, and that present technical and safety issues from the lack of sprinklers to buildings that are at 55% of current seismic code.

Looking to the future, Neil outlined a list of requirements needed to provide optimum care: from 30% more space to facilities that will allow for best practice techniques and a team focus to the delivery of health care.

Neil presented a two-site vision that will see a continuing presence of some services at its current site and a new facility at the False Creek Flats site. Since Providence Health Care will not require all the property they own at both sites they plan to use the land to help pay for the renewal and reduce costs to taxpayers. He also noted plans to engage in extensive public consultations by the end of this year that will help them to complete its business case.

During the Question and Answer part of the Forum, a woman asked what Providence Health Care intended when they present Urgent Care as one of the services to be kept at the Burrard Street site. Since time did not allow for a full response to this question, Neil MacConnell provided a detailed answer to Friends to publish and distribute to people interested in knowing and understanding what Urgent Care services include. We invite you read the document to become more informed on what this will mean for our community.

Report by Gail Brown