Closing the hospital labs? We’ll notify you about that


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An upbeat interview in Friday’s Times-Journal with Paul Jenkins, the new executive director of the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Foundation.
He is the individual who assumes the position previously held by Allan Weatherall who, like Malcolm Hopkins, didn’t fit into the long-term game plan of hospital CEO Paul Collins.
Well Paul’s fundraising endeavors may become that much more difficult based on information forwarded to City Scope on Friday.
As we understand matters, the downsizing/outsourcing may very well continue with pathology labs now housed at the hospital possibly about to be shuttered at the end of the year.
We don’t have a handle on number of people who might be impacted, although some of the work undertaken could be moved, possibly to Woodstock General Hospital. The remainder of the work would likely be assumed by a London facility.
A bit of a complication here though. The St. Thomas jobs are unionized whereas the Woodstock workplace is non-union so some negotiating would be in order.
The union – which has to be given five months notice – was apparently notified of this situation on July 11. That would mean the final day of employment in the STEGH labs would be on or around Dec. 11.
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The reeds have got to go and the ramps are taken care of


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It was a week of R and R over in the Lake Margaret area of town – as in reeds and ramps.
Seems things can move pretty quickly when dealing with the residents who live on the shore of the newest Great Lake.
Council wasted no time Monday in directing city staff to prepare a report on how to deal with invasive weeds – Phragmites australis – a perennial grass which is burgeoning out of control around Lake Margaret faster than senators’ expenses.
Parks and rec director Ross Tucker advised council he had met with Janice Gilbert – a wetlands ecologist who has been tagged Ontario’s leading authority on Phragmites australis – and a management plan will be in the works.
Tucker cautioned it could take three years or longer to win the war on weeds. What he didn’t touch on was the cost of doing battle with the fast-spreading foe.
But hold on a sec. Isn’t Lake Margaret the domain of Doug Tarry Custom Homes? Should the city be committing untold funds to deal with this pesky situation?
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Time for more pruning over at the hospital


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For the second time in just over a year, a high-profile figure over at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital has been shown the door, ostensibly because they don’t fit into future plans for the facility.
On Thursday, chief financial officer Malcolm Hopkins was dumped by CEO Paul Collins.
“I think change is a part of organizational life,” Collins said in an interview with the Times-Journal. “I’m trying to plan for the long-term future of STEGH and Malcolm has served this hospital for 11 years.”
Well if he has served the organization well, why was he unceremoniously dumped?
And why was the internal communication at the hospital a little on the vague side?
Paul Bode, chairman of the board of governors, was under the impression Hopkins had retired when we talked to him on Thursday.
“Malcolm just made the decision (to retire) yesterday (Tuesday) morning. He decided it was probably time to retire. It’s my impression that he retired. That’s how it was presented to me.”
An odd way to send off a long-standing player on the team.
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Something fishy about the police headquarters vote


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Just call them the king and queen of the flip-flop. We’re talking, of course, about Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands and Ald. Mark Cosens and which way they will lean Monday night when city council votes on the latter’s motion dealing with a new police headquarters.
Last week, Cosens filed a notice of motion that the city “build a new, modern, state-of-the-art police facility” adjacent to the Timken Centre.
The wording of the motion is a flip-flop-flip for Cosens.
We’ll elaborate.
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I’m sorry, your patient care has been out-sourced


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It’s an atmosphere that has been described as poisonous. A department where the director is accused of harassing, bullying and belittling a long-time employee who, as a result, is now absent from the workplace on stress leave.
A situation where an individual charged with the financial welfare of a $110 million corporation is in flagrant and repeated violation of that organization’s respect in the workplace policy
What is shocking is the venue – the treasury department at city hall – and the actions of city treasurer Bill Day have put CAO Wendell Graves and human resources director Graham Dart between a rock and a hard place.
And, no matter what action they deem necessary, it could cost St. Thomas ratepayers dearly.
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Just how thorough was that background check?


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St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital CEO Paul Collins checked in with us via email this week to offer insight into the hiring of vice-president of corporate services Malcolm Hopkins.
If you recall, Hopkins confirmed with this corner he was employed by The Kerkhoff Group, a B.C. construction, property development and building products manufacturing group of companies that went “spectacularly bankrupt around 1994” – his description of the meltdown.
In the aftermath, Hopkins was ordered to pay $10,000 and was issued with a five-year director/officer ban with conditions in 1997 by the British Columbia Securities Commission.
Our question: four years after this disciplinary action, what was the process that led to the hiring of Hopkins at STEGH?
Collins passed along the following summary.
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STEGH provides insight into chief of staff salary, VP details ‘exciting stuff’


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Ten days ago – as reported last week in this space – we contacted Cathy Fox, communications and public relations specialist at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, seeking answers to the following questions.
Why doesn’t vice-president/chief of staff Nancy Whitmore’s salary appear on annual public sector salary disclosures?
And, prior his arrival at STEGH, did vice-president of corporate services Malcolm Hopkins work outside of health care in British Columbia?
We received the following detailed answer to the first query directly from hospital CEO Paul Collins.
“In 2008, STEGH undertook a recruitment process to replace the previous physician in the role of VP Medical Affairs/Chief of Staff. The successful candidate was Dr. Nancy Whitmore, the first from outside of STEGH. Dr. Whitmore had been a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in St. Thomas in the early 1990’s before relocating to Stratford.”
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