Sydenham District Hospital Board Chair Sheldon Parsons, April 19, 2016 (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

Familiar Faces On Sydenham Hospital Board

Members of the Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) in Wallaceburg are giving their board of directors a vote of confidence.

They re-elected all five board members at the SDH’s annual general meeting Thursday¬†night amid an ongoing dispute among the three hospitals that make up the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Sheldon Parsons — who was re-elected as a board member — says they still have some big decisions to make in the near future. That includes moving to staggered terms instead of the previous system, under which board members each only served one-year terms.

“Next Thursday, the elected directors will determine which directors will get which terms,” says Parsons. “That way in the future, with staggered terms, we will have a portion of the board coming up for re-election rather than the whole board.”

Parsons says he believes two of the board members will be serving three-year terms, two will serve two-year terms, and one will be up for re-election next year.

Sydenham hospital members also learned last night that the board will now have a sixth representative. Rex Isaac will be joining the group to share any concerns that Walpole Island residents might have.

“We appreciate his (Rex’s) involvement in the past and his continuing involvement by this appointment,” says Parsons. “The purpose of course is to maintain communication and a connected link with Walpole Island.”

While Parsons estimates that 250-300 people showed up for the meeting, there were a few noticeable absences. None of the staff from the CKHA that were expected to show up to the meeting were in attendance — that includes the CEO Colin Patey.

“We were expecting Colin [Patey] and his staff and the last word that we had going into the meeting was that they would be there,” says Parsons, adding he didn’t find out until after the meeting that they had indicated they wouldn’t be attending. “There’s never been an AGM to my knowledge where the staff of the CKHA were not in attendance.”

In a written statement emailed out Friday afternoon, Colin Patey told BlackburnNews.com he skipped the meeting after discussions took place “between counsel for SDH and CKHA regarding how the business of the Alliance would be addressed at the Sydenham District Hospital’s (SDH) Annual General Meeting (AGM).”

He says the SDH board members were also able to confirm that “the reports of the Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Staff were not on the agenda and that verbal reports were not expected or encouraged, due to the potential for disrespectful or hostile questioning by the membership.”

Patey closed the email by saying,¬†“With no role at the meeting and in consideration of the SDH Board’s stated concern about disrespectful or hostile questioning, in the best interest of all parties, counsel concluded that the Alliance Executive and Auditor would not attend… It was our stated expectation that the SDH board would advise the members that they had received all the required information in writing from the Alliance Executive and that the Alliance Executive were not required to attend.”