Maggie Riopelle wrote in “Councillor fumes over NHS rebuff”, (St. Catharines Standard, Aug.12, 2009):
“Bob Saracino says he's being shut out by the Niagara Health System.
On Monday night, Port Colborne's regional councillor told city councillors he'd been told the NHS will no longer accept his requests for information unless they are funnelled through the mayor's office.
Saracino said he has every right to ask for public information as an elected official and the NHS has no right to refuse his requests.
Saracino claims the problem began about six or eight weeks ago, when NHS CEO and president Debbie Sevenpifer contacted him by telephone. He claimed what prompted the call was that the NHS was upset about his comments in the media.
"She expressed her opinion to me about comments I made in the newspaper about the NHS," he said Tuesday in a phone interview.
"At that time, she indicated
that any requests I make would have to go through the mayor's office."
About two weeks ago, when Saracino asked for statistics on the number of Port Colborne hospital urgent care centre visits, to compare those figures to last year's numbers when the hospital still had an emergency room, he got no response, he said.
After numerous calls, he was sent an e-mail from an NHS staff member informing him staff had been told his requests had to come through Mayor Vance Badawey.
"Who does this woman think she is?" Saracino said of Sevenpifer. "I ain't going through the mayor's office for information from the NHS. This is public information and I am an elected official.
"What does she think this is? The military? Well, we don't wear the same uniform...." he said.
“This is absolute nonsense. There is no way she is going to withhold information. People are asking me questions and they have a right to get answers ... but getting the information is difficult." Saracino called it "unacceptable" and "ridiculous" for Sevenpifer to inform staff to no longer accept a direct request from him. With no disrespect to the mayor, Saracino said, he doesn't intend to follow this new way of doing business.
Asked of his opinion on the matter, Badawey said his focus is on
preserving and enhancing health care in Port Colborne, not on a "battle between two individuals."
"If they want to go at it, by all means knock yourself out," Badawey said.
Sun Media tried to contact the NHS for an interview with Sevenpifer but was told she was in meetings all day. An e-mail was sent as "background information" from Sevenpifer.
"At the time we were getting a number of information requests for statistics related to the conversion of the ER at Port Colborne directed to various staff throughout our organization," the e-mail stated. "Therefore we felt it necessary to develop a streamlined, meaningful way of receiving and responding to information requests."
Sevenpifer said that, through a conversation she had with Saracino a few months ago, she "encouraged" him to "work with the mayor to identify his concerns as well as what information he would like to see."
"In this way, we could address his questions within a co-ordinated means, working with the City of Port Colborne, to identify and report on issues of concern to the community."
The CEO also said that she has had conversations with the mayor and is "committed to work with the City of Port Colborne, as well as our Port Colborne community standing committee to identify and develop key indicators for use as a report card back to the community on the status of the conversion" of the emergency room into an urgent care centre.
Saracino has requested Badawey send a letter inviting Premier Dalton McGuinty to the community so he can see what has happened since that conversion as well as how a role model hospital for rural and small communities "has been destroyed, all because of the incompetence and mismanagement of the NHS."
"I am very disgusted with the NHS," said Saracino. "They have allowed this hospital to deteriorate. I believe the premier can do something about it."”
You think McGuinty or any of his Liberal jackbooted goons give a FLICKING shit?!
Liberals don’t want the inconvenience of answering questions!
It was Dalton McGuinty and his LIBERALS who let the NHS "deteriorate"!
The "incompetence and mismanagement" did NOT occur in a vaccuum, free of Liberal single-payer ideological pollution!! Come on!
McGuinty has ALREADY 'done something about it': he allowed it to happen!!
Now you want his help? WTF?
Why doesn’t Saracino ask the local Liberals guilty of running this "disgusting" monopoly: what answers will Kim Craitor or Jim Bradley give? How about the incompetent health minister, David Caplan – will he provide the information Saracino seeks?
Why the secrecy over supposedly-public information? Well - this is just typical customer service in a politically protected monopoly setting. The NHS is simply operating as an agency of the secretive McGuinty Liberal majority government. They do as they’re instructed by the Liberal government. The NHS doesn’t have to talk to nosy councillors; or arm’s-length citizen-taxpayers; or even patients for that matter… they have their own agenda, and they live in a cozy non-competitive monopoly cocoon – the kind of arrogant, unaccountable Liberal-run monopoly which sent brave Ontarians such as Shona Holmes and Suzanne Aucoin to the United States for health care.
Of course - Liberal single-payer, no-patient-choice health care monopolism HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS – right?!!
What choice do patients (or politicians) have, but to go begging to their Local Lying Liberal for mercy, for protection from - Liberal health care duplicity!! (see: here for the whole sad story)
McGuinty's duplicitous Liberals are the health care enemy. Too bad Liberal Badawey wimped out and didn't seem to offer Saracino support - when he now talks about 'preserving and enhancing' health care, obviously he's already had his glass of Liberal Party kool-aid. The solution to Liberal monopolism's failures is more Liberal monopolism, right?
The NHS is just a front for Liberal despotic ideology.
Don't kid yourself - this is the face and the hand of McGuinty's arrogant Liberal government at work here.
The NHS is doing what they were told to do by the likes of Dalton McGuinty, David Caplan, Kim Craitor, and Jim Bradley.