Pines offers value for money

This letter responds to the comment by Dawn Rankine of the Child and Family Services Department that the government considers The Pines Retirement Home “a costly option by government’s standards so Family Services tries to use The Pines sparingly” in The Observer on Sunday.

At the Pines we take great pride in making each dollar we receive work hard for us and Ms Rankine’s comments do a great disservice to our staff and many benefactors.

Our monthly resident’s fee at the Pines of CI$3,100 breaks down to CI$100 a day. For that, residents receive full board and lodging, laundry, three full meals a day, snacks, activities, equipment and supplies and the on-site services of registered nurses, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are a non-profit organisation and the entirety of the residential fees received are applied to operational costs. Indeed, our ability to keep fees so low is down to the generosity of our suppliers who either donate supplies or services or who offer us significant discounts. It is also down to the generosity of our staff, which accepts wages below government pay scales.

If Ms Rankine considers CI$3,100 per month too great a price to pay to look after our elderly what are her views on the CI$4,583 per month that is spent by government on each prisoner at Northwood Prison? Is she really making sensible use of government funds keeping five elderly patients ‘in limbo’ at the George Town Hospital at a cost of CI$400 per day or CI$12,400 per month when they could be accommodated at The Pines for CI$3,100 per month?

Whilst criticizing fee levels at The Pines Ms Rankine confesses “it is unknown how much it costs [government] to take care of elderly patients”. How can you possibly not know? My challenge to you, Ms Rankine, is to find out and to publish your findings. If government really can provide accommodation and care for the elderly more cheaply than does The Pines you are welcome to take control of us. If not, then I suggest a large slice of humble pie. My money is on the humble pie.

Julian Reddyhough
Chairman, The Pines