Several N.B. communities calling for removal of Vitalité CEO: mayor

The heads of New Brunswick’s two regional health authorities have come under fire by some as the fallout from the recently-halted health-care reforms continues.

But Yvon Godin, the mayor for the Village of Bertrand, says village councillors recently passed a motion calling for the removal of Gilles Lanteigne, the president and CEO of Vitalité Health Network.

“(Gilles Lanteigne’s) lack of consultation and preparation for this event was not OK for us,” Godin says. “We need to do something about health in New Brunswick, we know about that. But he didn’t consult all the ambulance services (and) the doctors.”

That information will be presented to the Acadian Peninsula Regional Service Commission (APRSC) next week, he says.

“I know that Caraquet did the same, I know that Tracadie is working on it this week,” Godin says. “The 14 mayors (within the commission) are supposed to pass that motion at their meeting before we have an (APRSC) meeting next week.”

After appearing before the province’s public accounts committee Wednesday, Lanteigne told reporters health reforms are never welcomed with open arms.

“At this point, being personal and taking aim at specific people does not really help the debate, but I can understand that there’s a lot of emotion,” he says. “We will continue to work with these communities to try to find the best solution.”

He told the public accounts committee the health authority had answers, but people were “beyond” hearing them.

At a rally in Sussex earlier this week, residents held signs calling for the removal of Horizon’s CEO too.

But Michael Murphy, a former Liberal health minister in the province who merged eight regional health authorities into two in 2008, suggests resignations from the CEO’s wouldn’t be the right answer.

He has previously said more communication is required between citizens and the province.

Now, he says local advisory committees to represent rural hospitals that could report to the health minister and the regional health authorities would be a solution.

“(They) wouldn’t be committees that are empowered fiscally to hire, fire or make change, but the minister of the day would be always aware as to what the demands were,” Murphy says. “They certainly would be instrumental in having information given to the community as to what the true needs were.”

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