Nfld. & Labrador

'Totally inappropriate' to interfere in decision on hospital privileges: health minister

Health Minister John Haggie says Central Health's decision not to grant hospital privileges to Dr. Todd Young is "a board issue" that he won't interfere with.

'As minister, as a politician, there's no role for me in either of those areas,' says Haggie

Health Minister John Haggie says Central Health's decision "is a board issue." (Katie Breen/CBC)

Health Minister John Haggie says it is "totally inappropriate" for the province to intervene after Central Health denied a doctor's request for hospital privileges.

The health authority denied Dr. Todd Young's application for hospital privileges after he opened a new medical clinic in Springdale on March 1.

Young had his licence suspended by the Newfoundland and Labrador College of Physicians and Surgeons in November 2015 after admitting to a three-year relationship with a former patient.

His license was reinstated earlier this year. 

A 'board issue'

Young wrote a letter to Haggie in January requesting hospital privileges from Central Health that would allow him to admit and treat patients at hospitals operated by the health authority.

Haggie told CBC, however, that Central Health's decision "is a board issue." 

"As minister, as a politician, there's no role for me in either of those areas," said Haggie, referring to Dr. Young's medical licence and request for hospital privileges. 

"My understanding is that Dr. Young's licence, even though it's restricted, gives him the opportunity to practice as a family physician in pretty much the same way as a lot of family physician's practice on the Avalon," he said. 

Todd Young is arguing for the "tools" he needs to do his job. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Not a 'socially responsible' decision

Young said the decision made by Central Health's board is not a "socially responsible" one.

If I have a patient now who has cancer, I can't admit them to the hospital.- Dr. Todd Young

"Springdale's a little bit different than Gander, Grand Falls and other areas. You know in some of those areas that family physicians have opted not to have admitting privileges," said Young. 

"But, in small towns ... I think it's an expectation of patients that their family physician would also work in the emergency room and be able to admit them."

Young said he struggles with the fact that the health authority has denied his hospital privileges.

"If I have a patient now who has cancer, I can't admit them to the hospital," he said.

Young said he currently has 3,300 applicants for his new clinic and has worked to regain the trust of the Green Bay community.

A rally in support of Young is planned for Wednesday in Springdale.