Dissolution of Boards of Health Networks: Trustees in office for several months
The trustee of the Vitalité Health Network, Gérald Richard, says his job is to support the network in its management and to eliminate possible barriers to its proper functioning.
It has now been almost three months since the boards of directors of the health networks in New Brunswick were dissolved. So few changes have been announced since this major health cleaning, now this situation, initially described as “temporary” by the Prime Minister, could last for several more months.
On July 15, Blaine Higgs announced major changes in healthcare leadership. In addition to dismissing the Minister of Health and the CEO of Horizon Health Network, the Prime Minister also decided to revoke the boards of directors of the two health networks.
These boards were then replaced by two unelected trustees. Gérald Richard is the trustee for Vitalité Health Network.
Gérald Richard, Trustee of Vitalité Health Network, the October 12, 2022
The mandate we have been given […] is to help, to accompany the management of the Réseau de Vitalité, the CEO, in her work, to make sure to remove all the possible barriers that could to do his job, he explained in an interview with Téléjournal Acadie on Wednesday.
Asked when a new model of governance would be in place, Prime Minister Blaine Higgs on Wednesday raised the idea that the trustees would stay on for several more months.
I would say probably the middle of next year, that sort of thing. Or the first trimester. But that would be for next year, he said.
Gérald Richard says he accepted the position of trustee on certain conditions. I accepted on the condition that it was temporary.
I received a letter […] which said that my work would be done until March 2023 , so I expect to be there until then, he explains.
Some former members of Vitalité's board of directors are now wondering what good this change of direction on the part of the Prime Minister was for.
Norma McGraw, former board member of Vitalité Health Network
It's Higgs and his entourage working behind closed doors, so we don't know, we can't react because we don't know more, what is he is done in relation to all the challenges?, launches Norma McGraw.
Terry Richardson asks himself the same question. For him [Blaine Higgs], it was something that was necessary to make changes, but really, what has changed in the three months that have passed?
“It doesn't seem to be getting any better!” Every day, we realize that there is a lack of service, a lack of access, service closures!
—Norma McGraw, former board member of Vitalité
Mr. Richardson wants Blaine Higgs to quickly present a mode of governance that gives the people back their say.
Terry Richardson, Chief of the Pabineau First Nation and former appointed member of the Vitalité Board
“It's true that there were challenges in the CA, but it was something that was necessary for me, to give the world a chance to talk a little about the things that, in the regions, were important to them in health. »
— Terry Richardson, former member of the Board of Vitalité
We know what the problem is, there are not enough people in the hospitals! We are short of people in the health authorities!, he says, asking Blaine Higgs directly to use the budget surpluses to hire health care staff immediately.
The prime minister admits that few major changes have been made since the arrival of the trustees. We haven't made any changes other than the two health authorities working together to put plans in place across the province.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs
Blaine Higgs adds that he expects the two networks' trustees to present him with solutions to the labor shortage and a management structure that will improve the health care system for years to come. .
Gérald Richard says that over the past few months, one of his main tasks has been to better understand the reasons why health professionals choose to leave the environment. .
We met with people from human resources […] to determine what the real challenges are with regard to personnel, the shortage of personnel and this crisis that we have, he explains.
< p class="e-p">He adds that together with the information collected by an employee survey on these reasons will be essential for the next steps.
We have elements of solutions that are on the move now to ensure not just recruitment, but retention of our own staff, he says.
“I believe we can do better and faster, especially in terms of access to healthcare. »
— Gérald Richard, trustee of the Vitalité Health Network
Gérald Richard specifies that the meetings with several elected officials from municipalities in different regions were fruitful and that the province must encourage models of community health centers and multidisciplinary teams.
Last August, the group Égalité santé en français announced that it was turning to the courts to overturn the decision of the government of Blaine Higgs to dismiss the board of directors of the Vitalité Health Network.
Dr Hubert Dupuis, President of Equality Health in French
The president of the group, Dr. Hubert Dupuis, also affirms that no urgent decision has been taken following the dissolution of the CAs, in order to manage the health crisis.
I have the impression that it's just like the Ministry of Health which has taken more power, which has taken more control over the health network francophone and on francophone health institutions, he said.
Hubert Dupuis believes that the province is going in the wrong direction with this decision and asks that the first minister back down and give the community full control of the Vitalité network, through elections for members of a new board of directors.
With information from Karine Godin and Pascal Raiche-Nogue