The Ontario Ombudsman’s office has ruled that it will not investigate the decision by the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) to transfer 31 mental health beds from North Bay to Sudbury.
In July 2010, the Concerned Citizens’ Committee of North Bay and Area filed a complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman that the NE LHIN had been unreasonable in its April 2010 decision to approve the transfer of 31 specialized longer-term mental health beds. The committee claims that the NE LHIN did not consult with patients, families and experts before deciding to move the beds. The NE LHIN has acknowledged that an open call for public consultation was not made during the panel process because of time constraints; however, a task force that was created by the Regional Addictions and Health Advisory Panel did consult stakeholders. Gareth Jones, director of the Special Ombudsman Response Team, confirmed that the team interviewed many people before deciding not to investigate the complaint.
The relocation of the 31 beds has been an issue since 2000, when the Health Services Restructuring Commission completed a detailed review of in-patient mental health beds and decided that they should be relocated to Sudbury. The facilitator appointed to oversee the transfers, as well as others involved in mental health in the northeast, recommended in August 2005 that the beds should stay in North Bay.
See “No Investigation Necessary,” Sudbury Star, October 8, 2010, available at www.sudburystar.com.