Provincial probe a massive job



The provincial health ministry’s examination into the governance of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has the potential to not only resolve the issues of the past and present but re-establish public confidence in how the CKHA is being operated.

To do so, however, it will need to examine not only the friction between the boards but also how the differencing levels of support for CKHA administration led to an unparalleled split which has rendered the organization an alliance in name only.

The relationship between the two Chatham boards and administration seems to be one based not so much on governance as it is devout reverence.

The relationship between the SDH board and administration has become one of distrust and a nearly total lack of communication.

The resulting fallout has seen administration introduce questionable medical rationale for its plans, publicly create an “us vs. them” attitude about staff, withhold information which doesn’t back its perceived vision and leave unanswered allegations of a million dollars in funding which didn’t reach this community.

The SDH board publicly remains committed to working things out with the Chatham boards, something the Chatham board has called virtually impossible.

In a bizarre move, the CKHA recently spent nearly $10,000 on a post-card telling the community what a wonderful job it is doing. Most of the information had already been made public in the media, however, not apparently to the liking of CKHA top officials.

It was a vanity exercise reminiscent of CEO Colin Patey’s public assertion that he’s doing a “damn fine job” except it came with a hefty (to most of us) price tag.

At a time when health care funds are supposedly difficult to come by and the Alliance remains above average in administration costs, (although numbers have reduced) the CKHA also announced it had hired a nationally known polling firm to conduct a survey on Alliance perception in the community.

Given its well-established reputation for promoting information it believes improves its image, and burying information to the contrary, the poll would be virtually useless without full disclosure.

If the CKHA is concerned about public perception, it needs to address some level of transparency.

Board members elected in secret meetings, the use of information as a weapon, an obsession with image, closed door lobbying, questionable appointments, a refusal to give staff credit for outstanding performances and more have led us to the situation we’re in.

Where is the will to lead us out?


  1. Excellent column, succinctly and accurately detailed. Just one of the observation I would like to add, There is no future in the CKHA for Sydenham unless the MOH cleans house. Colin Patey needs to go as do all members of the PGH and St. Joe's Board. The St. Joe's Board must be dissolved. Chatham has one hospital, not two. Wallaceburg has been pillaged since 1998. We need out

  2. As Mr. Patey has stated, "In the U.S., you spend three years in a job before being fired. In Canada, you last about five years". Six year later, neither a Ministry of Health investigation nor an Ipsos survey is required to confirm what he has always known.


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