The stink surrounding questionable executive expenditures at the IWK is growing.
The details are laid out here:
The details seem to be adding up to a type of abuse that most of us have felt was unbelievable in a small place like Nova Scotia where everyone knows everyone.
Coming on the heels of this expanding questionable expense scandal are the legal costs incurred by Capital Health and the Nova Scotia Health Authority to defend themselves against a legal action by Dr. Gabrielle Horne.
Jim Vibert, writing in The Chronicle Herald, says legal experts believe the health authorities spent $10 million of taxpayer money on their defence!!
This gobsmacking number is unacceptable. It is too great an expenditure to not be publicized and questioned. Who authorized this? And how is it acceptable to piss away so much money on such a questionable case? The health authority managed to have the monetary award for Dr. Horne reduced, but they were still found guilty. They were wrong. And we, their employers, are left holding the bag while they spend unlimited amounts to protect their reputation and income.
Dr. Horne spend $1.3 million to defend her reputation, so with the $800,000 award granted by the appeals court, she is out money, and patients were deprived of her skill and research. Where is the penalty for the people who failed in their obligations, who were judged in the wrong by the court? What penalty or suffering or inconvenience did they endure?
The Horne case should inspire a provincial cap on how much a government agency, board, commission and minister can spend on legal fees. Allowing public officials and executives to treat the public purse as a bottomless resource for them to hide behind and cover their failures is wrong and immoral and, in this case, doesn’t contribute to better medicine in Nova Scotia. We need fixed limits on legal budgets. The NSHA won’t like it, but tough, it may be the only way to make this super secret authority truly accountable.
The questionable expenses and outrageous legal bills stink to high heaven.
When someone in the public employ behaves badly, does something illegal and/or actionable, they, not the taxpayer, should pay. It is unacceptable that the public health care system is left to pay for these wrong, and perhaps illegal, actions.
Many times a case like this would have been settled privately without the necessity of going to court. It’s ironic that a body as secretive as the NSHA would do something so publicly, which raises the question: was this action about an issue or vanity and vengeance?