CUPE local 101 president questions recent Middlesex London Health Unit actions

The patient is "... a gentleman in his 50s with a recent travel to the U.K.," said Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health.
The patient is "... a gentleman in his 50s with a recent travel to the U.K.," said Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health. Global News

Questions are being raised by the union representing staff at the Middlesex London Health Unit after two recent issues were brought to light.

The president of CUPE local 101 is calling for the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) to take down a request for proposal (RFP) from their website.

The health unit posted an RFP last week, looking for managed IT services.

“If you’re doing the department, that means that you’re possibly throwing that tender out for that as well, and we have very strong wording that you can’t do that,” said CUPE local 101 president Steve Holland.

“I know that the health unit did bring this to my attention that they were looking at some exploratory things with other health units and considering other options with regard to their IT. At that time we discussed that when they had something a little more concrete, to come back to us and have a discussion so we can figure out whether or not this is something that our members would be interested in, and then the next thing I know, I see an RFP.”

Story continues below advertisement

Holland says there are five unionized employees who work in the IT department at the MLHU.

The health unit says the RFP was posted as they look for new leadership.

“We’ve got fantastic staff in our IT department and they’ve always done excellent work for us,” said MLHU spokesperson Dan Flahrety.

“This really is about trying to look at ways to provide that leadership and that management to fulfil the projects we have on the go.”

Flahrety says the current manager is in an acting role until they find a permanent replacement who meets all the criteria they require.

“We’re looking for an individual who has a particular skill set, particular experience in a lot of areas,” said Flahrety.

“We can talk about data base development, certain aspects of advanced network implementation, security, all those sorts of things.”

News of the RFP comes after the health unit announced it is cutting dental services to focus solely on prevention.

“What happened in the last couple years is we’ve seen a major program called Healthy Smiles Ontario come into place,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for the MLHU.

Story continues below advertisement

“This is a program that funds all dental care for all kids on low income.”

Mackie says the need for dental care at the MLHU is not what it once was as care is now being provided by around 200 dentists in the London area because of Healthy Smiles.

The MLHU says it is now going to focus solely on prevention programs.

“If we’re not willing to change, we’re never going to meet the changing needs of our community,” said Mackie.