By now most of the residents of the Tri-County area have received a letter from the Tri-County Concerned Citizens and the White Rapids Manor Board. Council would like to provide an overview of the events that led to our position.
Council saw the negative impacts the current situation with the White Rapids Manor Board and the local doctors is having not only on Fredericton Junction but the whole Tri-County area. As a result of this, we proposed a reasonable resolution to the Board and the local doctors hoping that the issue would be resolved. The local doctors agreed with our proposal, but the Board did not. Subsequent to this, we asked for and received a meeting with the Minister of Seniors and Long Term Care (formerly Social Development). At this meeting we were given some hope that things could be resolved. The Minister then arranged a meeting between herself, her Deputy Minister, Robert Amos, chair of White Rapids Manor Board and Gary Mersereau, Mayor of Fredericton Junction.
This meeting went fairly well with a discussion on the items Council proposed as a resolution. The Chair agreed to take certain points back to the Board. The Chair and Mayor agreed that the Chair would provide a letter outlining the Board’s version of the events leading to the current situation. They also agreed to meet before the letter was sent out. The Chair informed the Mayor that “in response to the Minister’s request that we consider /confirm Dr. Andrew Richardson as Dr. Khaleduzzaman’s backup, I confirm that the Board accepts it to be at Dr. Khaleduzzaman’s discretion, and he has indicated that is his intent. He has also indicated that this may be a temporary arrangement since come Jan 1, 2017, he will be part of a larger call-group in the Fredericton area, and as such will have the option of backup from that group. At this point any arrangements to be made will be between the two physicians”. It appears to us that the Board’s position is that they believe that in the absence of Dr. Khaleduzzaman, transporting residents to the already overburdened Oromocto Public Hospital or the DECRH emergency room is providing them the best health care, while we believe (supported by the chief of Medical Staff at Horizon Health) that an onsite doctor is a better option.
The Chair further stated “we are in the process of drafting “An Open Letter to the Mayor and Village Council of Fredericton Junction and Residents of Surrounding Areas” with the intent that ” the community at large will have a clear understanding of the circumstances that led to the current situation and recognize that the Board and employees of the manor make their decisions and perform their duties strictly in the best interests of the residents”. I hope to have that letter in your hands by Monday morning, Gary, and if I can sign it before then I will send a copy by email to each of you”. At this point in time the Mayor was still under the impression that they would meet to discuss the open letter as agreed at their meeting noted above before it being mailed out.
At 11:05 on Sunday night, the Mayor received the Chair’s open letter with the statement that it would be in the mail Monday. We all received the letter Tuesday. It is obvious to Council that the Chair had no intention of meeting with the Mayor. At our Council meeting of July 25, Council discussed the matter and was disappointed, to say the least. We believed there are certainly areas where we could work together for the betterment of White Rapids Manor and our community, but the Board seems to have little interest despite their statements in their strategic plan. Consequently, Council decided to take no action with respect to their open letter.
The Tri-County Concerned Citizens update acknowledged our meeting with the Minister and noted that the Department preferred to work with elected bodies. They did meet with Council and “passed the torch”. Unfortunately, with the actions of the Board, Council is no longer in a position to help resolve the matter to the benefit of the residents of the Manor and the communities. We have informed the Deputy Minister and the Concerned Citizens Group of this decision.
While we are disappointed that the White Rapids Manor Board will not look at a solution to provide the best health care possible for the residents of the Manor and regain community support, we will continuously be available to work with all parties to bring a resolution to this situation.