Everything has a tipping point. The most recent announcement by Phil Matthews, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) Board Chair, of the selection of Dr. Abdel-Razek to become MAHC’s newest Chief of Staff (COS), may be the community’s tipping point. Dr. Abdel-Razek was chosen over the eminently qualified Dr. Roy Kirkpatrick.
This is not about Dr. Abdel-Razek’s qualifications. He continues to live and practice as the chief obstetrician and gynecologist in Orillia and has been accredited at MAHC since 2013 (serving mostly at MAHC’s Bracebridge site).
Dr. Roy Kirkpatrick has lived and worked in Muskoka his entire career. He is beloved and highly trusted by the entire community and highly respected by our medical practitioners. He has a long list of impressive credentials that are regional, national and global including:
- awards from the OMA (Ontario Medical Association), most recently the 2018 Section Service Award for General Surgery;
- advisory with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada;
- Associate Professor of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine;
- an assessor for the College, an expert in rural medicine implementation; and
- distinguished work with Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross.
MAHC’s rationale for this odd decision cannot be known for certain. It seems obvious to us that they didn’t want a Muskoka-based doctor, regardless of excellent qualifications. It also appears that anyone who may not be ‘in-step with’ the board’s thinking would be discounted. We have written about this matter and other issues in past articles, pointing out this board’s lack of community regard and poor decisions that have caused significant community disruption and mistrust. They have done it again.
At the heart of this matter is MAHC’s flawed governance and accountability structure. A publicly accountable hospital board would have appointed Dr. Kirkpatrick as the Chief of Staff years ago, respecting the will of the people, while also saving precious time and scarce money.
Democracy is a wonderful thing—the opposite rarely serves the public interests adequately. Taxpayers pay for and are the users of our healthcare system—we are the shareholders in the true sense. Public election of board directors that properly represent their community is the only way forward now. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our interests are best served by individuals who know exactly who they represent. If they act otherwise, they will be removed by the community shareholders—democratically.
Time for real change is long overdue. Let’s demand it.
Ross Maund, former MAHC director and career senior corporate executive
Dave Wilkin, P.Eng. and former MAHC director
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