“Don’t Tell Me How to Run This Hospital”: Hospital Bureaucrats Ignore Employee Suggestions

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Since my first Sault Area Hospital (SAH) story, dozens of employees and patients reached out. Only one patient and one hospital employee had anything positive to say about the SAH. The dozens of others shared horror stories of incompetence.
 
It’s too bad that frontline hospital employees have no way to make suggestions or complaints to the Hospital bureaucrats! Yes, you read that correctly.
There’s no system for hospital employees to make suggestions or complaints to the hospital administration!
I’ve spoken with employees across many departments. This isn’t a single department issue. It’s hospital-wide. No one can make suggestions or complaints to the hospital bureaucrats.
 
In July 2019, Wendy Hansson became the new President and CEO. Before joining SAH, Wendy spent two years as Vice President Quality & Innovation and Chief Transformation Officer at Providence Health Care.
 
Assuming SAH hired Wendy to provide quality care, innovation, and transformation. How does Wendy learn about the hospital if she doesn’t listen to frontline staff?
 
When I contacted Wendy’s office, all I got was Brandy Sharp Young from Communications to answer my questions. According to Brandy, Wendy is still learning about the hospital when I requested an interview.
Learning about the hospital? Wendy’s been here for seven months!
In her previous position, she was there for two years. I would think after seven months, Wendy would have at least one idea on how to make the hospital better. Instead, she’s still learning.
 
Apparently, Wendy is a “lifelong learner.” Seven months isn’t long enough to come up with one positive change to the hospital or grant an interview to local media. If only there was some way for Wendy to learn how to improve frontline care.
 
Oh wait, there is a way. Listen to frontline employees’ suggestions and complaints. But, that would require a system to listen to them.
 
That’s too much work for the SAH bureaucrats!
 
If there were a local competition between hospitals for patients. Possibly, SAH would have a reason to provide better care. However, that isn’t the case. SAH is a monopoly and runs as a monopoly.
 
Unhappy with SAH care? Go to the other Sault hospital. Hold on, there isn’t another hospital. Unlike Toronto where another hospital is 20 minutes away. The next nearest big hospital is hours away.
 
Considering Wendy’s outrageous, overpriced salary. What are we getting? A sub-par hospital where employees cannot make suggestions to the bloated administration filled with overpriced bureaucrats!
 
Here’s a novel idea, spend money on frontline care and less on bureaucrats pushing paper around! Consult with frontline nurses and doctors charged with providing the hospital services.
 
The blame falls on the hospital bureaucrats. They have a “don’t care” attitude in response to suggestions from frontline staff.
 
We are trapped by hospital bureaucrats that don’t listen to anyone nor are they held accountable.
 
Wendy is an “innovation and transformation” expert but doesn’t listen to frontline staff.
 
This isn’t a problem caused by the frontline staff. Plenty of them have suggestions and care about their jobs! Dozens of staff reached out to me with their suggestions and complaints about the hospital.
I listened but will Wendy and the hospital bureaucrats?

16 COMMENTS

  1. This is amateurish and hardly informative. Every other sentence mentions “hospital bureaucrats!” and seems entirely like hearsay. Particularly the fake quote in the title.

    Stop bashing SAH if you can’t do better. As a frequent patient, yes, there are things I would suggest be changed to better serve patients, but I don’t know the reasoning behind the things that I would change. You clearly don’t know anything about the inner workings of the SAH. Perhaps things are the way they are for a reason.

  2. So this past year the hospital was part of the ONE initiative which was a massive change which required a lot of planning and time. This article is very negative, I don’t believe all frontline staff would agree.It doesn’t sound like you’ve done full research on our CEO.

  3. The only problem I have with this editorial is that you offer no suggestions for improvement. All you do is complain. If you have a complaint, have a suggestion to fix it at the same time. And if all you’re going to do when you write is complain, then I won’t be supporting you or this website any longer.

    • Put in place a system for frontline employees to make suggestions. I listened to frontline employees and suggest the hospital does the same.

  4. Wait, is “Don’t Tell Me How to Run This Hospital” a real quote? If not, maybe consider taking the quotation marks off…

    • It’s a quote from a frontline employee who told me what a hospital administrator said to them.

      • thats hearsay. The people who work for SAH can simply type an email to their CEO. There does not need to be a complex network or program.

  5. I have worked in many environments and SAH is the last one that I would criticize about not listening to staff. As an employee of this institution I am given many opportunities within my department to provide feed back. Therefore one may conclude that the problem involves individual departments lacking communication and not generalizing SAH.

  6. Apparently you’re still learning spelling and grammar so I wouldn’t be quick to judge. All public services/businesses will have people that complain as some people feel they deserve special treatment that isn’t earned or required. The ministry and government regulate the hospitals, not the support staff and certainly not the patients. If you don’t work as a nurse, doctor or paramedic you really don’t understand the field or health care system the same way. Those that are disgruntled could be due to their individual performance. I’d love to know what you do for a living (if anything) so I can observe and criticize and write letters as you do. Don’t like the healthcare move to another country I’m confident you will have more appreciation for what you do have.

    • Who do you think you are telling someone who is paying for this service to move to another country? This person has a right to their opinion and to ask questions. I don’t know if you work in this field but if you do then maybe you should find a new job so new people can replace you and maybe just maybe give positive feedback to make positive changes.

    • Sounds like you’re a nurse. The SAH doesn’t know their hand from their foot. The mental health program is a joke and God forbid you have an anxiety disorder coupled with what you’re in there for. Back home you go!

  7. Go to the SAH website and insist the Board of Directors email addresses are posted so we can write to them.

  8. Note to anyone working in the public sector. If you see this person poking around your place of employment, you are about to be ripped apart on Sault Online.

  9. What about the hospital board of directors? They are answerable to the public. It’s ridiculous that a CEO cannot address this issue and is not ready to communicate to the public.

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