Local hospital laundry

Local hospital laundry

Decision on Kootenay Lake hospital laundry still pending

Interior Health says it’s taking longer than expected to make a decision on privatizing laundry services at its hospitals.

Interior Health says it’s taking longer than expected to make a decision on privatizing laundry services at hospitals including the one in Nelson.

In a statement, Alan Davies, regional director of support services, said the health authority is still exploring options of having a private company provide laundry services to its facilities, but they haven’t finished reviewing submissions and talking with proponents.

“We had expected to have a decision this month; unfortunately it has taken us more time than expected,” Davies said. “We now anticipate a decision later this fall.”

Davies said providing hospital laundry services is “highly complex” and the health authority is “taking additional time” to make the best decision.

“We know this has been a difficult time for our employees and I thank them for their continued patience,” he said.

The move has been roundly criticized. In May, MLA Michelle Mungall presented a 12,000 signature to the health minister calling on him to kibosh the plan.

It has also been opposed by Nelson city council and other municipalities. If the health authority presses ahead, Kootenay Lake Hospital’s laundry is expected to be done either in the Lower Mainland or Alberta, at the expense of 17 jobs.

Interior Health, however, says privatization would mean it could avoid spending $10.5 million to replace equipment across its service area.