a community group advocating for better access to services Sackville Memorial Hospital Worried that Friday’s firing Horizon Health Network CEO Dr. John Dornan Will promote more centralization in health care.
On Friday, Premier Blaine Higgs announced several health care shakeups, including replacing the health minister, sacking Dornan and wiping out the boards of both Horizon and Vitalite Health Network.
John Highgham, co-chair of the Rural Health Action Group, said Dornan is particularly open to working with community groups like his own.
“We were really pleased that they felt the community’s involvement helps them do their job at Horizon and helps Horizon achieve the objectives they want,” he said in an interview on Monday.
“So we’re afraid that without that leadership and that vision, it didn’t happen in front of him, that it might be off the table.”
He said his group would meet soon to discuss the issue, and had not heard from anyone in the government about the status of cooperation with Horizon.
Newly appointed Health Minister Bruce Fitch gave no details on Monday when asked about the future of collaboration between regional health officials and community groups.
“There are a number of things that are going on in the province that have been positive and we want to take advantage of that and make sure those best practices are happening across the province if possible,” he said.
Memmarck-Tantramar legislator Megan Mitten told Global News on Saturday that Dornan had built a “relationship of trust” in her ride and had made several commitments to improve Sackville’s hospital.
She said Dornan had made commitments related to retention and admission at Sackville Memorial Hospital and had discussed opening a second operating room.
“I’m really hoping those commitments will be kept, which Dr. Dornan was making,” she said.
Mitten is also concerned that the elimination of Horizon and Vitalite’s boards will reduce rural representation.
“This move to partially get rid of elected boards and appoint these trustees centralizes decision making so decisions are going to be made in Fredericton,” she said.
She was concerned that this would lead to a change in the structure of health care management with less community input.
“(Friday’s) announcement had more questions than answers,” she said.