Local 3570

Local 3570

BC Health Care and Privatization

Sent: Saturday, January 08, 2005 8:29 PM
Subject: BC Health Care and Privatization

"We think Surrey Memorial is an example of what's going on in other facilities. Patients and staff have brought up concerns in other hospitals," said HEU spokeswoman Margi Blamey. Until last winter, FHA employees represented by the HEU cleaned the hospitals, including operating rooms, patient rooms and public areas. But since cleaning services were contracted out to Sodexho Canada in an effort to save the FHA money, problems have repeatedly cropped up.
- Abbotsford Times, Nov. 19, 2004

Sodexho's mission is to offer services that contribute to a more pleasant way of life for people of all ages, whenever and wherever they come together.
- Sodexho's mission statement

Report on infection control changes in B.C. isn't good enough for victim
Terri Theodore
Canadian Press, Jan. 8, 2005

VANCOUVER (CP) - Five months after having her baby at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Tara Roberts still can't bend and pick up her little girl because of a serious post-operative infection.

Roberts, 30, says she is no closer to finding out what happened, despite a report released Friday by the Health Ministry. "I need somewhere to take my kids if they get sick," Roberts told the Media after the report was released. "I am still not confident . . .that I could take my children to Surrey hospital."

The report makes more than two dozen recommendations to prevent post-operative infections for both Surrey Memorial and the province, but doesn't address the concerns of nine women who complain about their serious infections that began in hospital for caesarean sections.

"Somebody needs to be held accountable - not only for what happened to me - but the other families," Roberts said.

After having an emergency caesarean section in August, Roberts said she was released, even though she had a fever.

Her third trip to hospital was by ambulance. Roberts needed emergency surgery and was placed on life support.

Her voice cracked with emotion as she talked about her continuing poor health.

"I'm afraid to die; I think about it every day," she said. "That's what's consuming my life right now and I need answers."

The report, by Dr. Doug Cochrane, explains that Surrey Memorial's infection control systems weren't kept up after standards were centralized at the Fraser Health Authority in response to the SARS.

"Emergency record review and surgeons' reporting was not maintained at the same level as had been the case when the service was hospital based," his report said.

Dr. Dave Matheson, vice president of quality at the Fraser Health Authority, said when SARS occurred, attention was sidetracked around infection rates and it was just "a matter of time" before such infections started showing up.

Among Cochrane's recommendations are mandatory reporting of post-operative infections, that all high risk areas be regularly reviewed for cleanliness, staffing levels in both maternity and emergency wards be improved and that policies be put in place for administration of antibiotics for caesarean sections.

The report also recommends provincial changes for setting up a infection control surveillance system, establishment of a program that monitors post-natal birthing complications, and a review of emergency department documentation to ensure that it reflects the care provided to patients.

Health Services Minister Shirley Bond said an action plan is already in place to implement the recommendations.

"This will place B.C. in a leadership role in Canada in our ability to develop provincial standards and regular province wide reporting."

Bond wouldn't talk about individual cases citing legal and confidentiality concerns.

She said the report was about hospital processes.

"What it has done, however, is remind us that patient safety is our number one priority."

The report claimed, and the minister reaffirmed, that the infection rate was within the acceptable range.

The infection rate at Surrey Memorial Hospital at the time was 3.57 per 100 patients.

The acceptable Canadian standard is 3.5 per 100 patients, while the International benchmark is 3.59.

Bond said the report makes it clear that issues connected to housekeeping didn't contribute to the situation.

At the time of the women's complaints, the Hospital Employees Union demanded an expanded investigation. It said the government's move to privatizing cleaning services may have compromised infection control.

"What (Cochrane) did identify, however, were clinic issues and lapses in the monitoring of patients following their release from the hospital," Bond said.

British Columbia NDP leader Carole James said the report should have looked at how the actions of the B.C. government contributed to the infection problem.

"The haven't talked about staffing reductions. They haven't talked about cuts in resources. They haven't talked about privatization and the cleaning concerns," James said.

The minister concedes the report makes it clear there is work that needs to be done.

"The review has done precisely what we expected it to do, which was say 'here are some gaps it's time you fixed them."'

Roberts said the review wasn't thorough enough because she was never contacted and to give her side of story.

"The public, myself, my family, we all deserved more than what we got today," she said.

Probe should include local hospitals, says HEU
By Christina Toth
Abbotsford Times, November 19, 2004

A government review of emergency and maternity wards at Surrey Memorial Hospital should include MSA General and Mission Memorial hospitals, say Hospital Employees' Union officials.

Health Minister Colin Hansen ordered a review Tuesday of those departments at the Surrey hospital after women complained they suffered from severe and flesh-eating infections after having caesarean sections performed there. But there are concerns about cleanliness throughout the health authority, HEU says.

"We think Surrey Memorial is an example of what's going on in other facilities. Patients and staff have brought up concerns in other hospitals," said HEU spokeswoman Margi Blamey.

Until last winter, FHA employees represented by the HEU cleaned the hospitals, including operating rooms, patient rooms and public areas. But since cleaning services were contracted out to Sodexho Canada in an effort to save the FHA money, problems have repeatedly cropped up.

In March, MSA Hospital cleaning staff, working for Sodexho, reported that blood and birthing material remained in delivery rooms that were supposed to be clean, and that needles and trash were left behind emergency room beds.

MSA Hospital housekeepers also feared that inadequate training for cleaning procedures and infection control put them, staff and patients at risk, along with understaffing and lack of health and safety procedures.

In April, Royal Columbian Hospital's special care nursery was closed due to a superbug outbreak. Although hospital officials didn't connect the outbreak to infection control, the hospital staff did, said Blamey.

In August, patient complaints about the lack of cleanliness in the Royal Columbian ER led the FHA to promise more staffing from the private contractor. In September, another patient there complained she was put in a bed with wet and soiled linens.

"The contract workers have been telling us that their workloads are extreme and they've received minimal training. These issues must be part of the investigation as well," said Zorica Bosancic, HEU's acting secretary-business manager.

FHA promised penalties if substandard conditions continued at MSA Hospital, but in September the Workers' Compensation Board was brought in to the Abbotsford hospital to review health and safety procedures. The WCB found that Sodexho's health and safety procedures were appropriate for cleaning hotels but not for hospitals, which require a much higher degree of infection control and the related training.

"Very clearly, the WCB recognized cleaning in health care facilities is different from cleaning in the hospitality sector," Blamey said.

The WCB probe followed an incident where a Sodexho worker had blood spilled on him from a garbage bag.

Bosancic said what is needed is a full disclosure of the cleaning standards in Sodexho's contract and a review of contracted services impact on infection control.

"Problems are not limited to Surrey Memorial and neither should this investigation," she said.

The HEU said it has tried through Freedom of Information requests to obtain the cleaning standards in the FHA's five-year contract with Sodexho, but the union has received only blank pages of severed material.

"There's a total lack of transparency and accountability when it comes to infection control standards post-privatization. If the government is serious about restoring public confidence, this secrecy must end now," said Bosancic.

Union blasts hospital costs
By Christina Toth
Abbotsford Times, Dec. 10, 2004

The new 300-bed Abbotsford hospital and cancer centre will go down as Premier Gordon Campbell's fast ferry, says the Hospital Employees Union.

Costs have gone up almost 70 per cent since the province said in 2001 it wanted to use a public-private partnership model to build the new Abbotsford hospital, said Zorica Bosancic of the HEU.

"The Campbell Liberals are rolling the dice with this expensive and risky private hospital scheme," she said.

The $355 million capital project will be built by a private sector consortium. Once open in May 2008, the Fraser Health Authority will pay Access Health Abbotsford $40.7 million to run the facility and to provide non-medical services, or about $1.4 billion over the 30-year contract.

"Since the P3 hospital was announced, capital costs have gone up $144 million, for the same number of beds," said HEU spokesmanMike Old. "The real problem is that there's a lack of accountability and a lack of transparency [in a P3.]"

However, hospital project manager Mike Marasco said the project has gone from being simply a replacement to MSA General, at a cost of $210 million, to a regional referral centre, with specialty areas, research and teaching opportunities and other enhancements.

The ARH will be far more technologically equipped than the early plans, he said.

"Our equipment budget alone has doubled, to about $85 million from $44 million," Marasco said.

Emergency room space has grown. Two of eight operating rooms will be equipped with video-conferencing equipment so that surgeons from other parts of the world can guide local surgeons through a procedure.

Plans no longer include four-bed wards, only rooms with one or two beds, which means isolation of infectious cases is much easier, Marasco said. More than half the rooms will be private.

Other upgrades include a specialty obstetrics ward, a tertiary palliative ward, prevention to end of life programs in the cancer centre, a helipad and an increased ambulatory care area for day patients. Also new is a renal dialysis ward and separate intensive care and intensive cardiac care areas.

The planning partners, which include government ministries, the B.C. Cancer Agency and the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District, also decided to ramp up the environment standards for the complex, Marasco said.

When asked about Sodexho, a consortium member and the company criticized for poor housekeeping services at MSA Hospital, Marasco said if one consortium member performs badly, all the members pay. "If a room is not available for example, because it's not clean, not only will Sodexho not get paid, all the consortium vendors will be docked. So there is tremendous pressure not only from us but from the vendors to maintain standards," Marasco said.

Old said the HEU is waiting to see a cost comparison next year between public sector and private costs for constructing the hospital.

Hospital gets big thumbs up
With a deluge pouring down around them, about 150 regional and provincial leaders and guests huddled under a white tent near Marshall Road Wednesday morning, to hear that the $355 million Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre is a go

WCB orders Sodexho to clean up
Nov. 23, 2004

Cleaning staff at MSA General were not given adequate training or health and safety support by their employer, Sodexho Canada, the Workers' Compensation Board has found. Overall, cleaning standards were appropriate for a hotel, but not for a health care facility, the report said. In an inspection report dated Sept. 30, Sodexho was cited for four violations of WCB regulations and had until Oct. 30 to comply with five orders. To date Sodexho has complied with three orders and is in the process of meeting the other two, WCB spokeswoman Donna Freeman said Monday.


Auditor General urged to audit hospital cleaning in four health authorities
CUPE, December 13, 2004

New cleaning concerns emerge at Burnaby and Eagle Ridge hospitals

Amidst growing concerns over deteriorating standards of hospital cleanliness, the BC Nurses’ Union and Hospital Employees’ Union are urging the BC Auditor General to carry out a thorough audit of housekeeping services in four health authorities.

The call was prompted by inadequate and patchwork responses by health authorities and the provincial government to recent media reports on hospital cleaning.

Last month, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority announced a three-week long audit of hospital cleaning after news reports of poor performance under the $100 million housekeeping services contract it signed last year.

But VCHA did not release the name of the company carrying out the audit, or its terms of reference.

“Three weeks is not enough time to review all aspects of housekeeping as they relate to infection control and patient and staff safety,” said HEU acting secretary business manager Zorica Bosancic. “We also have no idea if the audit will touch on the factors we’ve identified as critical to a successful investigation.”

Those factors were outlined in a joint union report Falling Standards, Rising Risks: Issues of hospital cleanliness with contracting out released in November. The report documented numerous concerns over poor cleaning and inadequate infection control at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Similar concerns have come to light within two Fraser Health Authority hospitals.

A survey conducted amongst staff in the emergency department at Burnaby Hospital also found sub-standard cleaning and lack of attention to infection control.

“The general feeling is that the hospital is not being consistently cleaned to an appropriate standard,” says BCNU regional chair and Burnaby Hospital registered nurse Melanie Leckovic.

“There aren’t enough cleaners to do the job properly. The numbers might be appropriate for a hotel, where a room is cleaned once a day but when you’re dealing with a patient with diarrhea or if someone is hemorrhaging, you might have to call for a cleaner numerous times a shift and they can’t cope. This means extra work for nurses because we either have to contact the cleaning call centre which is located outside the hospital, or are forced to take on some cleaning ourselves. And that takes us away from our patients.”

And at a meeting at Eagle Ridge Hospital, the same kinds of incidents were described by nurses and other health care workers.

“These concerns, plus the fact that the review of Surrey Memorial Hospital regarding the women who had life-threatening infections after c-sections doesn’t include a look at the role housekeeping may have played, point to the need for the Auditor General’s office to get involved,” says Bosancic.

“We’ve asked for a thorough audit of housekeeping services in the Fraser Health Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, including Providence Health Care, the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Vancouver Island Health Authority.”

Nurses Claim Privatization Deal Threatens Safety
Province Boosts Take

Cafeteria customers pressure Sodexho Marriott to drop private prison holdings
By: Ariel Troster
Straight Goods, Jan. 8, 2005

Sodexho Marriott Services is the largest supplier of food to institutions-particularly university and college cafeterias-in North America. It also owns ten per cent of the world's largest for-profit prison company. Students and other cafeteria customers are being asked to put pressure on North America's largest institutional food service provider to divest itself of holdings in private prisons. Opponents of private prisons say cafeterias run by Sodexho Marriott Services may be funding the highly profitable private prison industry. Sodexho Marriott Services is the largest institutional provider of food services in North America with $4.5 billion in annual revenue. The company has contracts with 60 universities and colleges in Canada and more than 500 in the United States. The French multinational Sodexho Alliance owned 48 per cent of the company's stock until last week, when it announced that it would be buying out the rest of the company. Sodexho Alliance also owns 10 per cent of a company called Prison Realty Trust/Corrections Corporation of America making it a leading investor in the world's largest for-profit prison company. While Sodexho Alliance CEO Pierre Bellon announced last fall that the company would sell its shares in CCA, the company has yet to sell. Sodexho Alliance also owns 100 percent of U.K. Detention Services and Corrections Corporation of Australia.


A Corporate Profile
By Corporate Watch UK
Completed February 2004


Sodexho-Alliance S.A.
"Sodexho's mission is to offer services that contribute to a more pleasant way of life for people of all ages, whenever and wherever they come together."1


Sodexho is a food services and management services company who tout their 'services' to everyone from multinational business to National Health Service (NHS) trusts. You are most likely to have come across Sodexho in your school or university canteen, or else when you fancy a snack whilst visiting a museum, art gallery or hospital. However, behind the boiled vegetables and dinner ladies with hair nets, lurks an altogether more sinister multinational.

Campaigners are most likely to associate Sodexho with its ill-fated government contract to provide benefits to asylum seekers in the form of vouchers. This potentially big money spinner for Sodexho turned into a PR nightmare as the widest range of campaign groups imaginable persuaded the government to abandon the scheme. Unfortunately, Sodexho has not been put off the asylum business, as you will see below. Sodexho has also had its fingers burnt in the USA, where it ran 'correctional facilities' which were the target of a concerted and successful campus-wide campaign. Despite eventually withdrawing from the prison industry in the USA, profits speak louder than bad PR, and it is still heavily involved with the prison industry in the UK and Australia.

Sodexho's other controversial contracts include feeding the U.S. Military in their various endeavours in the Gulf and elsewhere, as well as assisting Royal Dutch Shell in exploiting oil on Sakhalin Island, in the Far East of Russia.

Sodexho has also been criticised not only for opposing organised labour, but for going one step further. In 1998, its handbook for managers on how to fight unions in the workplace was leaked to the International Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union.

So war, prisons, anti-unionism and oil. All this and so much more.

Industry Areas:

FOOD AND MANAGEMENT SERVICES: supply of food and management services to companies, public agencies and institutions, hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and educational institutions. Management services include cleaning, technical maintenance, security, grounds keeping, medical surveillance and leisure services, as well as the management of on-site clubs & retail outlets.

REMOTE SITE MANAGEMENT: provision of services worldwide to people working on-land and offshore on oil rigs, major construction projects, mining facilities and forestry operations.

SERVICE VOUCHERS AND CARDS: supply and processing of vouchers for food, petrol, gifts, work clothes, toys and childcare services.

LEISURE SERVICES: management of public restaurants, event catering, river cruises, sports facilities, spas, cultural institutions and convention centres.


Founded as a ship supply company in Marseilles in 1895, young Pierre Bellon shifted his family's company into food service in 1966, with a single corporate dining room. This was followed by a move into catering services for schools, hospitals and staff restaurants.

Bill Fishman, the co-founder of ARA Services, which later became Aramark Corporation (another key rival for Sodexho), coaxed Pierre Bellon to visit the US for a few weeks in 1970 as he hoped to buy the Frenchman's company. As a result of the visit, however, Bellon found that he liked the new line of business even more and went on to expand it.10

Sodexho began its international expansion with a contract for a Brussels hospital in 1971. In 1975, Sodexho broadened its activities to include remote-site management for large onshore and offshore sites, first in Africa, then in the Middle East. In 1978, Sodexho entered the voucher business in Belgium and Germany. Vouchers are a system for employers to pay employees in lieu of a monetary payment. They include meal, childcare and gift vouchers.

The 1980's saw Sodexho expand further into the Americas and a public floatation in France. The early 1990’s saw further expansion in Japan, Russia and Eastern Europe.

In 1994 Sodexho acquired an 8% stake in the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The USA's first and largest provider of detention and corrections services to governmental agencies.11 In 1995, Sodexho acquired the UK's biggest contract services group, Gardner-Merchant Ltd., and Swedish contract management company Partena, and in 1996, they entered the world's largest service voucher market in Brazil, by acquiring Cardapio.

In 1997, the parent company changed its name to Sodexho Alliance S.A. In 1998, Sodexho Alliance combined its North American operation with Marriott Management Services to create Sodexho Marriott Services (SMS). SMS was the spun off 'catering and facilities-management' wing of the management company Marriott International, Inc which was itself divided from the hotel-owing company, Host Marriott Corp., in 1993. Just to clarify: Sodexho does not own Marriott hotels.

At that time, Sodexho Alliance held an approximate 48% stake in SMS, most of the rest being held by the public on the stock exchange. In May 1999, Michel Landel from Sodexho Alliance was unanimously nominated chief executive of SMS and in 2001, Sodexho Alliance bought the remaining shares in SMS and renamed the business, Sodexho, Inc.

In 1999 Sodexho opened the “Sodexho Research Institute on the Quality of Daily Life”(See later).

In 2000, Sodexho Alliance and Universal Services merged to become the world’s largest remote-site management company. In 2001, after a major US university campus campaign, Sodexho Alliance sold its 8% share of Correction Corporation of America. However, it has expanded its direct involvement in the industry by acquiring CCA's stocks in U.K. Detention Services and Corrections Corporation of Australia, now renamed Australian Integrated Management Services (AIMS). Previously Sodexho and CCA had run these companies in partnership.

In 2002, Sodexho Alliance was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

More at: http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/profiles/sodexho/sodexho.htm