Kincardine's doctors call for Davies' resignation


Kincardine’s physicians want South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) CEO Paul Davies to resign, citing poor communication between health care providers and hospital administration.


Dr. Gary Gurbin used Friday’s health care stakeholders meeting to present a letter to SBGHC board chair John Haggerty asking for Davies’ resignation. Despite objections from meeting chair person Larry Kraemer, Gurbin read the letter to the assembled delegation and a large crowd of residents.


“We feel decisions about health care services to Kincardine Hospital have been made on the basis of incomplete, inaccurate or misrepresented information,” Gurbin said. “Davies’ style of management is intimidating and borders on bullying. Davies’ word is unreliable.”


The meeting was set up as an opportunity for different groups involved in providing health care to share information and answer questions. It was not meant as an excuse to point fingers, and Kraemer said Gurbin’s outburst was unfair to Davies.


“No one wants to be put in this position,” he said. “I don’t think this is proper.”


Doctors Gurbin and Lisa Roth said they have tried repeatedly to bring their concerns to the members of the hospital board. Roth said each time doctors have reached out, the board has refused to speak with them.


During the decisions around the future of physiotherapy in Kincardine, Roth said the board was not openly communicating. She had to engage board members to find information and was often not presented with news until it was given in a press release.


“We knew this was an emotionally charged letter,” Roth said. “We don’t feel we’re being represented.”


Immediately after the letter was read Haggerty and Davies said they would not respond. They said it needed to be discussed by the hospital board and left the meeting, drawing catcalls from the public in attendance.


After a brief recess, Davies and Haggerty returned and gave their presentation. Haggerty said he was not impressed with the way the doctors chose to confront Davies.


“I’m disgusted by this. It is neither the time nor place,” Haggerty said. “This was an information meeting and the way the doctors handled it is wrong. This should’ve come forward at a different venue.”


Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell also said she was not impressed with the timing of the letter.


“I try to treat people the way I’d want to be treated,” she said after the meeting. “I wouldn’t want this to happen to me.”

Kraemer also believes the doctors acted inappropriately.


“All organizations have their internal disagreements,” he said following the meeting. “I hoped we wouldn’t have to see this. It’s something they need to deal with privately. It should’ve been kept internal.”


Gurbin said the continued lack of communication from the hospital board left the doctors with no other choice but to present their letter during the meeting. He also said it was an appropriate way to confront Davies considering the CEO has a reputation of bullying SBGHC employees.


“We have been abused repeatedly,” he said. “We tried to deal with this in confidence, but were not responded to.”


Gregg McClelland of the Kincardine Community Health Care Foundation also questioned Davies’ leadership. He said the foundation believes Davies is removing services from Kincardine to help the Walkerton Hospital compare better with the services in Hanover.


McClelland said the morale of Kincardine hospital staff has been poor and the board has not given the foundation warnings about the loss of physiotherapy and the removal of community-supported equipment from the hospital.


“Our CEO has left us questioning his motives,” McClelland said. “We need to manage our own hospital.”


Gurbin’s ill-advised presentation may leave the doctor vulnerable to legal action. Davies refused to comment following the meeting but Haggerty said the board will decide how to move forward on the issue. In the meantime, he said the board remains behind its embattled CEO.


“We have to discuss this. We must discuss it,” he said. “The board is 100 per cent behind Paul Davies.”