Janet Knox needs to explain herself.
In a province that has an acute shortage of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, why does Knox constantly squander surgeons?
Situations like that of Dr. Jeannie MacGillivray, who when facing burn out found a solution that worked for her, another surgeon and patients, and was forced to to resign don’t make sense.
Rather than support a doctor who recognized her stress, who found a workable solution, the Nova Scotia Health Authority not only said no, but made her work environment untenable.
Dr. MacGillivary’s situation isn’t unique. What’s different is she spoke up. Her experience should be a warning to physicians thinking of practicing in the province. (See Is the NSHA anti-woman below.)
As someone with a family physician, I am concerned about losing him. A year ago my previous physician closed his practice due to work-related stress. I was able to scramble and get on with his former practice partner. What worries me is that I am one of 3,800 patients this physician sees. He has asked for help from the NSHA, he’s asked for a locum or a Nurse Practitioner to support his practice, and been refused. I am concerned because how long before he either burns out or out of frustration moves from Nova Scotia to practice elsewhere?
My previous doctor was one of 10 who closed their Kings County practices in a 12-month period. Since then we have had over 30 of physicians in Cape Breton and the mainland Eastern Zone give up their practices.
In September 2017 the hot topic in provincial health care was physician burn out. A year and a half later, nothing seems to have changed.
The impediment to physician health and happiness lands squarely at the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Janet Knox is the CEO. She is in charge. The buck stops at her desk. In January Dr. Bob Martel called for a change in leadership. He is not the first to say that, just the first to put it in print.
We have done everything to change and improve health care for Nova Scotians. The government boldly charged the management structure by merging nine health authorities into what was supposed to be one cohesive unit. The government has invested close to a billion dollars in expanding HRM facilities as part of a staged, re-imagining cluster of care in preparation for replacing the Victoria General complex.
While we have a new system and a new vision we placed it under the care of old thinkers and an absentee/passive board of directors.
Bricks and mortar help, but don’t replace the skill and dedication of front-line medical professionals. There is no evidence that Knox’s tenure at the head of the NSHA has been successful. So why does the government continue to support her? Is it because of the expense of terminating her employment contract? (I was told hat was why we didn’t eliminate as many health executives as originally planned with the merger.)
The situation with the NSHA reminds me of a situation which existed in Canada’s military. In the 1970s it was discovered that Canada had more officers than enlisted men. Is this to be the fate of Nova Scotia health care: more executives than doctors and nurses?
What is the Government’s justification for keeping this executive in power?