* This letter was addressed to Jane Havens, chair of the Public General Hospital board and Gail Rumble, chair of the St. Joseph’s hospital board, regarding ‘Inappropriate Communications by PGH and SJH to the OHC Chatham-Kent.’
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Board of Directors of Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) in response to a letter your respective boards sent to Shirley Roebuck, Chair of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) – Chatham-Kent Branch, dated April 26, 2016. This letter raises numerous issues that require a response.
We are very concerned that you have, once again, publicly stated that your respective boards have “made the decision to suspend governance activities” of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.
As we communicated in a letter dated April 15, 2016, your boards have no authority to suspend governance activities under the Alliance Agreement. The Alliance Agreement has not been terminated, and you are not free to ignore the governance procedures that it mandates, notably the decision-making procedures of the Tri-Board.
In light of ongoing internal discussions within the Alliance, it is completely inappropriate to make outward statements, to the Ontario Health Coalition and others, before these discussions have been resolved. It is even more inappropriate to suggest publicly, as you have, that suspension of the Alliance Agreement is a fait accompli. This is simply not the case.
We also strongly resist the suggestion that the conduct of the SDH board has in any way violated the letter or spirit of the Alliance Agreement. As you know, each of our hospital boards is duty-bound to advance the purposes of the Alliance, including “[exercising] their fiduciary duties and responsibilities to protect and promote the diversity of the community and the heritage of the religious based and non-religious based Hospitals” and “[maintaining] the respective identities and missions of PGH, SJH and SDH”.
You appear to suggest that by advocating for the unique interests of the residents of Sydenham – Walpole – St. Clair, which is our fiduciary duty under the Alliance Agreement, we are somehow in violation of that Agreement when in fact we are fulfilling our obligations under that Agreement.
Our position has not changed. We remain prepared, as always, to convene a meeting of the Tri-Board to work through our differences. We think compromise is both desirable and achievable.
More importantly, it is in the best interests of the residents of the Chatham-Kent and the Sydenham – Walpole – St. Clair district as a whole.
Chair of the SDH board