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Grand Falls-Windsor hits at Gander in submission to health review

Barry Manuel
Barry Manuel - Samantha Gardiner

Municipality backs senior health team at Central Health

GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL - Mayor Barry Manuel is not mincing words in a letter addressed to the doctor in charge of the external review underway at Central Health.

“The problems that exist at the James Peyton (sic) Memorial Hospital are not new and have existed for some time,” he wrote in the letter, released to the public on social media April 18, referring to difficulties the hospital has had recruiting and retaining physicians. “We fear decisions made on services for Central Health will be politically motivated at the expense of Central Newfoundland Regional Health Facility (sic).”

Complaints about governance and management at Central Health triggered an external review, which Health Minister John Haggie announced in early February. His statement at the time specifically cited “governance, senior management and clinical management,” as areas of focus. CEO Rosemarie Goodyear stepped down the week after to be replaced by interim president and CEO Louise Jones in March.

“For the record, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor fully supports the senior management team at Central Health,” reads the second sentence of the letter signed by Manuel. “To have success creating a healthier Grand Falls-Windsor, the town must have a well-established relationship with their management team.”

The letter goes on to list several initiatives brought about by the partnership between the health authority and municipality, including the Age-Friendly Action Plan, youth mental health learning conferences, and Senior Trade Fair to name a few. It also describes a “progressive attitude and collegial approach among physicians in Grand Falls-Windsor,” and expresses concern with media reports and comments from the minister himself about governance issues at Central Health.

“Our experiences in working actively with the Central Health Authority and the local medical community have been exceptional,” it reads.

“We are very concerned that arbitrary decisions will be made to move services from the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre, where things appear to be fine, to the James Paton Memorial Hospital. This is not going to solve physician recruitment problems but only create new ones.”

The letter puts forward examples of facilities being planned for Gander, including an adult addiction centre, an expansion to a pain clinic and integration of a sports medicine unit, as well as, a lab that was originally slotted for Grand Falls-Windsor, though none have been independently confirmed by the Advertiser.

“In closing,” the letter reads, “we would like to reiterate our support for the senior management team at Central Health and their assistance in supporting our wellness initiatives and the additional opportunities that have been created and the new ones on the horizon.”

See the whole letter here.

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