Supervisor committed to community

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Rob Devitt is committed to strong community involvement in the local health care system; he just isn’t sure what form that will take.

Devitt, appointed supervisor of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Sept. 1, met last week with the former board of the Sydenham District Hospital and is trying to arrange meetings with former St. Joseph’s and Public General boards.

Under the legal terms of his appointment, all governance boards were automatically dismissed.

The Wallaceburg board operated as an “open board” with directors being elected from a membership of more than 500.

The Chatham board members were appointed through a process closed to the public.

Devitt said it would be premature to say at this point what direction hospital governance will take.

“I don’t have a preferred structure,” he said. “We’ll start by looking at best practices and what fits the local situation. There are lots of models and options.”

He said he plans to speak to as many people as possible while he determines the future of the organization.

“It is ultimately about the communities we serve in health care,” he said. “That’s why we don’t have all hospitals run from Toronto. It’s about making informed, balanced provision of services that use resources wisely.”

Devitt said he’s had an “incredibly warm welcome.

“The staff and physicians are dedicated to better patient care so it’s a matter of finding the best way to move forward.”
Last week former CEO Colin Patey was dismissed and Ken Deane was hired as his replacement on an interim basis.

“I think very highly of Ken,” he said. “We have both been CEOs, interim CEOs and supervisors so I like to say that in our case one and one equals three because we have a broad base of knowledge.”

He said listening, coaching and teaching are part of both positions.

“We’re very aware that we’re public servants and we’re here for that purpose.”

Ultimately, Devitt said, “at the very centre of our discussions should be the patient. We need to make sure that any citizen in need of health care receives care that is clinical, humane, compassionate and culturally sensitive.”

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