O’Brien disappointed with commissioner’s response
IQALUIT Kivallivik MLA Kevin O’Brien isn’t happy that Commissioner Helen Maksagak has turned down his request for a public inquiry into the Keewatin Regional Health Board.
“It is, of course, very disappointing to have such an important request refused,” O’Brien told MLAs in the legislative assembly on Oct. 2. “This is especially so when one considers that a public inquiry was requested by the NTI, the Keewatin Inuit Association, all the Keewatin mayors and the Union of Northern Workers.”
In a letter to O’Brien, Maksagak said she made the decision after consulting with Premier Don Morin.
As for an internal review of the Keewatin and Baffin health boards tabled by Health Minister Kelvin Ng in the assembly last week, it “doesn’t go far enough to address the issues that have been raised by the Keewatin people,” O’Brien said.
No cost-benefit analysis for Keewatin
During oral question period Oct. 2, O’Brien asked Ng to explain why the GNWT health department isn’t asking the Keewatin health board for a cost-benefit analysis of changes in the way family doctors and medical specialists are provided to Keewatin residents.
Baffin health board’s proposed move of patient services from Montreal to Ottawa has been frozen until the Baffin board can provide a cost-benefit analysis of the move.
Ng responded by saying that the Baffin board’s actions threaten to cost more money than the Keewatin board’s.
He said the Baffin is moving services from one province to another, creating costly new needs for a new Ottawa patient home, new interpreter services, and a new referral service.
Ontario also has different physician fee schedules from Quebec.
“[T]hey were doing an entire shift of their service from one jurisdiction to a different jurisdiction, which has of course, financial implications based on the fee schedules, financial implications based on having to set up a new referral service, new boarding arrangements, new interpreter services and those types of things that would have to be put in place,” Ng said.
Ng also said Keewatin residents “are not at risk” in the provision of physician services.