SPRINGDALE, NL — As government and the provincial ombudsman launch reviews of Central Health’s administration and management, reactions around Springdale appear to support the actions.
Earlier this month, Health Minister John Haggie announced an external review of the health authority due to concerns and complaints about health care services in central Newfoundland. The following day, the provincial Office of the Citizens’ Representative announced its own investigation into Central Health.
Both organizations have received complaints from Central Health staff about alleged unfair treatment by administration.
Springdale pharmacist Darryl Kendell says the reviews are long overdue.
“The management and staff are out of touch with the needs of medical consumers, and they are letting personal vendettas get in the way of good medical practice,” he told the Nor’wester.
Kendell feels he himself was such a target for speaking out about a local matter.
Dr. Todd Young of Springdale has been battling to have his emergency room privileges with Central Health reinstated for years. In April 2014, he voluntarily withdrew his licence after admitting to having relations with two patients. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador found him guilty of conduct deserving sanction in relation to this and revoked his licence for 19 months.
Young subsequently opened the Main Street Medical Clinic, which is housed in a building owned by Kendell, and applied for hospital privileges at the Green Bay Health Centre.
Young was denied the ability to admit his patients or work in the emergency room, a decision he continues to fight in court.
Shortly after a public protest in Springdale supporting Young in 2016, Kendell voiced an opinion — he says as a private citizen — in a public forum to show his support for the doctor. He was also critical of management at Central Health.
According to Kendell, Central Health subsequently launched legal action to have him cited for unprofessional conduct. The case eventually ended, he said, when the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board determined it had no merit.
At the time, thousands of other area residents signed a petition to have Young’s medical privileges returned.
“It’s the clients and citizens of the province who should be calling the shots on medical care, saying ‘this is what we want,’” Kendell said. “I think the biggest problems with the boards, and the Department of Health, and with our own pharmacy board – anyone who hasn’t been face-to-face with a patient on the front lines is clueless as to how medicine is to be delivered.”
Kendell hopes the reviews lead to appointing a board of directors “with teeth” and a shake up of the management team.
Central Health president and CEO Rosemary Goodyear resigned the week after the investigations were announced. Kendell says her replacement needs to listen to the board of directors, not control it.
He also believes it is time Young had his medical privileges back.
When contacted by the Nor’wester following news of the investigations, Young himself would not comment on the specifics of his situation or treatment from Central Health. The matter is still before the court.
However, he said he welcomed the review on behalf of patients and people living within the jurisdiction.
“I firmly believe there are lots of improvements that could be made within our healthcare system, and medical and physician services are certainly an important part of that structure,” he said.
Young expects the reviews to highlight significant areas that need to be addressed but says it should be all about the people.