July 7
Veritas apologizes to Wesley, CKHA
HEALTH: Community engagement process to continue
Posted By TREVOR TERFLOTH, http://www.ChathamDailyNews.ca

A Toronto company that sought information on Save Our Sydenham's chairman apologized yesterday.
Bill Walker, senior vice-president of Veritas Communications Canada, said he contacted both Jeff Wesley and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.
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"We made a mistake," he told The Chatham Daily News. "We've also sent a memo to all our staff reminding them of our very strict policies in this regard, so this is not a mistake that's repeated."
The CKHA has contracted Veritas for three months, at a cost of under $50,000.

Walker said Karl Baldauf, a senior consultant with the company , ha s been removed from the community engagement project.
Last week, Baldauf e-mailed Pat Davis, chief of staff for LambtonKent-Middlesex
MP Bev Shipley, asking for "revealing or insightful" information on Wesley.
Wesley ran against Shipley, a Conservative, in the last election.

However, Davis -- a long-time friend of Wesley-- turned the e-mails over to the former Liberal candidate.
Walker said the idea wasn't to seek anything defamatory, but general details.
"We were just looking for information on who he was," he said. "This is what a stakeholder audit is. You've got to identify the important people in the community -- he's an important person in Chatham-Kent.

"But that doesn't excuse the fact it clearly was a mistake. And the tone of the e-mail was a mistake."
Wesley said he did not receive the voice mail apology, as he wasn't at work at the moment.
He couldn't comment on what was said, or whether he would accept it.

"I'm going to wait and see what it actually says and how far it goes," he said. "But this is a bigger issue than simply an apology."
Wesley said he stood by his recent letter to the government requesting an investigation.

He also wants information into who possibly knew about it besides Veritas, calling the search a waste of taxpayer dollars. "That money could be going to keep services in our hospital," he said.

Earlier this year, the Hay Group recommended to the Erie St. Clair Local Heath Integration Network that the Sydenham emergency department be closed and converted into an urgent-care centre.
However, the final decision was deferred until the Rural and Northern Health Care Panel completes its mandate this fall.

Walker said Wesley and the SOS committee are among the prime stakeholders and that their help is needed.
He said the latest incident doesn't reflect the intentions of the CKHA.
"Nor does it reflect the assignment CKHA gave us," he said. "All they want is complete, open and diverse community engagement."

Ken Tremblay, CKHA CEO, said the hospital accepted the apology and hopes to move forward.
"We did not know they would be using a political connection," he said. "Pat Davis and Bev Shipley's names weren't on our radar.
"Hopefully this was something that was an aberration in the short term and we can get on with those processes for community consultation."

The CEO believed the tone of the company's e-mail seeking information on Wesley was simply a misunderstanding.
Tremblay said Veritas is providing a crucial service, given the scope of health care and its impacts.
He said teamwork with all stakeholders is essential for success.
"We have to plan health services for the next year, two years, five years and 10 years," he said. "We have to find ways of advocating for the needs of the community."

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