In the midst of an emergency crisis, heads are rolling in New Brunswick

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In the midst of an ER crisis, heads are rolling in New Brunswick

Nearly all top leaders removed from office, Blaine Higgs says ;he wants to “get rid of barriers”.

From left to right, Dorothy Shephard, former New Brunswick Minister of Health, Dr. John Dornan, former CEO of Horizon Health Network, Mathieu Picard, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Health Network Vitalité Health, and Jeff McAloon, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Horizon.

In the midst of an emergency room crisis, the Premier of New Brunswick announces major changes among health leaders. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard and the CEO of Horizon Health Network are dismissed. The boards of directors of the Vitalité and Horizon networks are also revoked.

Bruce Fitch becomes Minister of Health. Former Health Minister Dorothy Shephard will replace him as Minister of Social Development.

New Brunswick's new Minister of Health, Bruce Fitch, at a press scrum in Fredericton (File)

New Brunswick's premier made the announcements, Friday afternoon, days after a patient died in an emergency department waiting room in Fredericton.

It's not up to me to run the healthcare system, but it's up to me to make sure the right people are in place to do it. And it starts at the top, said the Prime Minister.

Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick

The CEO of Horizon Health Network is removed from his post. Dr. John Dornan is replaced by Margaret Melanson, formerly vice president of clinical services for the network.

Her Vitalité Health Network counterpart, Dr. France Desrosiers, is not affected by these changes. In a written statement, she offered her full cooperation to the new leaders.

The CEO of Vitalité Health Network, Dr. France Desrosiers, is the only senior executive who is not affected by this health earthquake. (archives).

The two boards of directors of the two health networks will be replaced by two people appointed by the government.

Suzanne Johnston was appointed Trustee of Horizon Health Network and Gérald Richard was appointed Trustee of Vitalité Health Network. These people are also the ones presiding over health reform.

“If the bureaucracy keeps us from moving forward. Let's get rid of the barriers. […] We do not have time to lose. We need to find ways to have better outcomes in the health system. Citizens depend on it.

— Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick

The premier has warned new officials that he expects to receive ballots that tell us if we are improving, where do we have problems and how do we address them.

Blaine Higgs clarified that disbanding boards of directors is not a permanent measure. It's not meant to be permanent, but it is meant to get results.

In New Brunswick, there are two separate health networks, each with their own CEO , their officers and their board of directors. These two networks are overseen by the Ministry of Health.

Vitalité is the French regional board and Horizon is the English regional board. The two boards are not active in the same regions of the province, except in Moncton. However, they have an obligation to provide services and care in both official languages, regardless of where you are in the province.

Former Vitalité Chairman of the Board Mathieu Picard – who has only been in the role for a few weeks – welcomes the announcement of the dismissal of the Board of Directors .

If this initiative can lead to identifying solutions and implementing them to allow the improvement of health care for New Brunswickers, I see it as #x27;a good eye if it leads to that, believes Mathieu Picard. There are certain powers that we on the board of directors do not have, that the minister has, such as appointing trustees to expedite change.

For Horizon, former Chairman of the Board Jeff McAloon believes this is a big step backwards.

This represents the loss of community ownership and engagement and clinical leadership expertise. Centralizing control within the Prime Minister's Office is not the solution. Politics is what got us here and is not the solution, he wrote.

New Brunswick Medical Society President Dr. Mark MacMillan (on file).

The New Brunswick Medical Society supports the government's changes to the direction of health care.

The health system is in crisis, and addressing this situation will require quick and difficult decisions. We support any such decision that will ultimately lead to real change in the quality of care provided to New Brunswickers, said Chair Dr. Mark MacMillan.

These major announcements come after a patient died in the waiting room at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton while waiting for his turn to seek care early Tuesday morning.

A witness to the scene, John Staples, claims that an elderly man waited a long time in a wheelchair and at one point seemed to fall asleep. It wasn't until a hospital worker was doing a round of patients that it was realized the man had stopped breathing, he said.

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Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton

Horizon Health Network has confirmed that an unexpected patient death took place and indicates that a review is ongoing.

The opposition has called for the resignation of the Minister of Health as a result of this event.

Prime Minister Blaine Higgs offered his condolences to the loved ones of the deceased man during his press briefing on Friday.

This is a traumatic event, we would not expect to see something like this happen in our province, he added.

The Prime Minister has promised to seek an external review if he is not satisfied with the results, following the Horizon Network's review.

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