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Calls for sweeping changes at LHSC grow



A London health advocacy group is throwing its support behind a call for London Health Sciences Centre to implement sweeping change at the hospital

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A London health advocacy group is throwing its support behind a call for London Health Sciences Centre to implement sweeping change at the hospital, including firing its board of directors amid growing dissatisfaction with how it has been run.

LHSC has an acting chief executive David Musyj, president and chief executive at Windsor Regional Hospital, brought in to London to run the hospital amid a chief executive on leave, a spiralling deficit, swelling senior executive ranks and a travel scandal in which it spent nearly $500,000 on trips for executives.

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“The board does not have a handle on what is going on, they have not monitored the chief executive and it has been one scandal after another,” said Peter Bergmanis, co-chairperson of the London Health Coalition.

“They fired a CEO for leaving in a pandemic (Paul Woods), have another one on leave, have an increasing number of executives including three presidents and a funding crisis and capacity issues,” said Bergmanis.

Bergmanis spoke out after one London doctor Donald Farquhar wrote a public letter calling for a provincial “supervisor” to be appointed with authority to implement change at LHSC.

The Ontario Public Hospitals Act allows the government to appoint a supervisor to take over the administration of a hospital if it is considered in the public interest. It also acan take on the duties of a board of directors. 

“I hope the board is revamped,” said Bergmanis. “People that work there do not believe in that leadership.”

LHSC board chairperson Matthew Wilson referred calls on the matter to the hospital communications department which issued a statement on Farquhar’s call to action.

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“LHSC understands there are a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints on this and any other matter. While we welcome direct conversations, it would not be appropriate to speak to one individual’s opinion indirectly through the media,” it stated.

In a recent interview, Musyj said he does not have supervisory authority and did not seek it before accepting the London position. 

LHSC is facing a $76-million deficit, and has 22 senior executives including three presidents. It paid $1.5 million to five departed executives in 2021, and has signalled its intent to scrap a formal collaboration agreement with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. The move involves the wind-down of the hospitals’ joint ventures. 

“LHSC’s front-line managers feel increasingly frustrated and hamstrung by decisions made by senior managers distracted by upheaval at the top and distanced from the day-to-day work of patient care,” said Farquhar of LHSC.

“The disarray in its governance and executive teams is an opportunity for Queen’s Park to appoint a supervisor with the authority to help the institution find it again.”

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He also pointed to new executives hired who had been external consultants contracted by the hospital to help corporate restructuring.

“In short, many at LHSC have lost faith in the board and executive team,” he said.

Chief executive Jackie Schleifer Taylor, on a leave of absence since 2023, is paid more than $800,000 a year.

London NDP MPP Peggy Sattler was not available for comment Monday.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This file has been updated from its original publication.

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