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Premier must intervene in CHUM Jacques Turgeon crisis: BOD member

03/09/2015 01:39 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT
The Quebec premier's office must intervene to resolve the crisis at the University of Montreal Health Centre (CHUM)  or risk losing more of its Board of Director members, said one of the resigning members, Michel Gervais.

Le Devoir newspaper has reported Premier Couillard's office asked the superhospital board's resigning director, Jacques Turgeon, to resume his position at the helm of the hospital board. 

"It's the only way the premier can — in my opinion — unblock the current impasse," said Gervais. "And I do not see many other ways to resolve that without Mr. Turgeon at the head of CHUM."

Meanwhile, Gervais warns that "many" others board members will resign soon.

He said not all members were not able to announce their resignation last Friday at a meeting of the Board of Directors, however, they plan to do so shortly.

"There are some who do not have computers at their disposal, who were far away, etc. But there will be many, believe me," he said. 

Of the CHUM's 19 current board members, five have resigned since the beginning of the crisis:

- Jacques Turgeon

- Jean-Claude Deschênes

- Paul Perrotte

- Jean and Bragagnolo

- Michel Gervais

All said they were leaving their jobs to protest against "interference" and "abuse of power" from Health Minister Gaétan Barrette. 

Turgeon resigned last Thursday, accusing Gaétan Barrette of having interfered in the process of finding a manager for the Department of Surgery.

According to him, the minister insisted that Patrick Harris — who currently holds this position — be reappointed.

"This is blackmail and it is not acceptable in our democratic system," said Gervais. 

Although Gervais said he believes the return of Turgeon is the best outcome for the current crisis, he is still not confident in the board's ability to continue working with Barrette.

"The relationship of trust is broken," said Gervais. 

Meanwhile, Gervais dismisses criticisms that board members could have agreed to stay on for the good of the institution.

"It would be guilt by association, to accept the unacceptable," said Gervais. "We must move on... It's happening today at the CHUM, and tomorrow it will happen at another institution."

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