10/12/10

North Bay-Sudbury bed transfer: Ombudsman refuses to investigate, LHIN hopes for closure

The Ontario Ombudsman has decided not to investigate the decision to move 31 mental health hospital beds from North Bay to Sudbury.

A complaint, filed in July by the Concerned Citizens' Committee of North Bay and Area, charged that  the North East LHIN didn't adequately consult with patients, families and experts before making its decision April 29.

The North East LHIN acknowledged that an open call for public consultation wasn't made, but said a task force consulted stakeholders.

Gareth Jones, director of the Special Ombudsman Response Team that considered the complaint, said his team interviewed many people before deciding not to investigate the complaint. Linda Williamson, a spokeswoman for Ombudsman Ontario, said the watchdog does not investigate decisions by a government organizations, such as a local health integration network, but rather the process.

Louise Paquette, CEO of the North East LHIN, commented "I'm pleased we've got some closure.  We can now put our energy into going forward."

Concerned Citizens chair Mike Taylor said he's disappointed with the decision, but also notes that the Ombudsman's response provides clarification on the details surrounding the LHIN decision.   Taylor said that the response "raises more questions as to the efficiency of the NE LHIN" adding "I wasn't expecting much. Even if they had done an inquiry, how effective would it be? I don't know."


dallan@cupe.ca

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