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HomeMiscellanyExclusive: Island Health exec sacked, two months after consultant’s damning report on Nanaimo hospital’s “toxic culture”

Exclusive: Island Health exec sacked, two months after consultant’s damning report on Nanaimo hospital’s “toxic culture”


Bob Mackin

The executive director in charge of troubled Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is gone and Vancouver Island Health Authority won’t tell theBreaker why. 

A source says Suzanne Fox was escorted from NRGH on Jan. 8 — exactly two months after theBreaker was first to report on a damning report about the hospital’s toxic culture by a U.S. consultant. 

Ex-Island Health executive Suzanne Fox (VIHA)

VIHA spokeswoman Meribeth Burton told theBreaker by email that: “The executive director for Geography 2 has left Island Health. The recruitment process will begin shortly to fill the position on a permanent basis. We cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

Geography 2 is what VIHA calls the division that includes Oceanside/Nanaimo, Port Alberni/West Coast, NRGH clinical operations and Island-wide renal and trauma services. Fox’s bio says she is a critical care registered nurse who completed a masters in science of nursing at the University of British Columbia. She was in VIHA management since 2008. Fox, who was paid $160,096 last fiscal year, was also executive director of the $174 million iHealth project, which was supposed to have been completed last year, but has been delayed to 2020. Doctors have complained it is error-prone.  

Last Nov. 8, theBreaker was first to report that Denver-based Vector Group’s survey of staff and executives found NRGH rife with bullying, coercion, harassment, intimidation, lack of trust, nepotism and favouritism. The story on the Nanaimo hospital crisis was the third-most read on theBreaker in 2017. 

The survey said the hospital’s toxic culture was past the tipping point. Vector’s report said hospital staff it contacted said they refuse to recommend NRGH to relatives who are finishing their medical training. 

“Numerous people in several parts of the hospital volunteered that they’ve instructed their friends/families to take them elsewhere (the mainland) for care if they get sick,” the report said. 

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