A serious health-care disconnect


Sir: I was somewhat surprised at the letter to the editor of the Chatham Voice on April 26th from Jane Havens, acting chair of the Public General Hospital Board. Her personal opinion is just that, her personal opinion and in Canada she has every right to express it, as do all others. And if she perceives others opinions or comments to be “verbal junk or spout drivel” that’s her right too, and her right to say it.

What is sad for me is her comment, “we chose a skills-based board over community members who think they know everything about health care the first day they join the board, and who use it as a platform to advance their own personal agendas.”

Apparently the skills-based interview process her board participates in is designed to weed out anyone who does not have a high level of understanding and comprehension of the needs within the health-care community and in turn are above having any personal agenda whatsoever.

In contrast, the Sydenham District Board allows the taxpaying public to be a part of the community’s health-care vision by gathering publically and sharing their thoughts. Then, by way of our Canadian Constitution’s democratic process of voting, elect representatives to go forth and share our vision with others. In this process, she labels these individuals as community members who think they know everything about health care the first day they join the board, and who use it as a platform to advance their own personal agendas.

I guess some people like to be selected while others prefer to be elected to their hospital board. Apparently the selected ones never have a personal agenda and are well versed in Chatham-Kent’s health-care needs, whereas the elected ones all have a personal agenda. Further, elected members according to Jane don’t know anything about health care, at least when it comes to what’s best for Chatham-Kent.

For the next municipal elections let’s try selecting our councillors using the same process that the PGH Board uses, which is apparently far better than any election process, producing for us the highest calibre selected councillor and to boot, guarantees no selected councillor will have a personal agenda.

It’s OK with us that you have vacated the high ground to slug it out in the trenches with people you view in your opinion as the ill-informed and non-expert from Chatham-Kent. For you to have not seen this coming in my opinion shows how little you really know about all the communities which make up the Municipality of Chatham-Kent when it comes to how they see local health care being delivered in their community. Or maybe our opinion just doesn’t matter to you.

As for your statement, “if only the community of Chatham-Kent had the depth of understanding about health care that this duo has, we would not be having this diatribe in a public forum,” I would suggest it is for that very reason we have to have this discussion in a public forum, and not in a closed boardroom of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Doug Babbitt


  1. The skill-based PGH board must have over-looked the public relations/communications requirement when they appointed their Acting Chair.

    If this is how the Acting Chair expresses her opinion in a prepared public letter then it pains me to think how her impromtu dialog is conducted behind the often closed CKHA board room doors.

    "Respecting the views of other members of the Alliance Board" is a stipulation of contributing to governance.

    My sincere apprecaition to Mr, Babbitt for his eloquent contributions.


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