Paul Woods no longer CEO and president of LHSC ‘effective immediately’

Paul Woods no longer CEO and president of LHSC ‘effective immediately’

In an about-face from last week, the board of directors of the London Health Sciences Centre says it’s “decided to end Dr. Paul Woods’ employment as LHSC’s President and Chief Executive Officer.”The decision is “effective immediately” and the board says an interim president and CEO will be announced “in the coming days.”
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LHSC head travelled to U.S. 5 times to see family during COVID-19 pandemic

On Friday, the board issued a statement confirming Woods had travelled to the United States to visit family five times since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, most recently from Dec. 19 to 25.At that time, the board said it “supports his continued leadership of LHSC.”Amy Walby, chair of LHSC’s board of directors, noted that Woods had received the support of the board, and that it was in the “best interest” to keep him as CEO to “maintain stability at the CEO level at such tumultuous times.” Story continues below advertisement

The announcement drew public backlash, including from Peter Bergmanis, co-chair of the London Health Coalition, who called Woods’ actions “inexcusable.”“We are getting a little tired as front-line workers hearing ‘we are all in this together’ when clearly we are not,” he said on Friday.“Clearly there are some of us who can do anything they feel like and expect the rest of us to carry the load.”
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In Monday’s release, the board says “it has become clear that this situation has affected the confidence of staff, physicians and the community in Dr. Woods’ leadership.” [ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]
The board also clarifies that while it was “aware of Dr. Woods’ personal circumstances,” it was not given advanced notice of, nor did it approve, Woods’ travel outside of Canada.“There is no process for the Board of a public hospital to approve a chief executive officer’s personal travel,” the statement reads.“None of the elected directors of the Board of LHSC have travelled outside of Canada since the onset of the pandemic.”

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The board also used the opportunity to express support for hospital employees, stating “we recognize the unprecedented efforts and dedication of hospital staff and physicians.” Story continues below advertisement

London, Ont. neonatal nurse suspended without pay after Washington, D.C. trip

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At the time of Woods’ most recent trip on Dec. 19, the Middlesex-London Health Unit confirmed there were six active outbreaks at University Hospital (UH) linked to at least 153 cases and 17 deaths at the facility.At the beginning of the UH outbreaks, Woods had sent an internal memo to staff urging employees to hold themselves to “a higher standard” after the organization found ongoing issues when it came to staff taking off masks to eat together in break areas, and failing to socially distance, both outdoors and indoors.“In many of these cases, internal contact tracing has shown the spread to be caused by direct staff-to-staff transmission,” Woods wrote in the memo, obtained by Global News. “To be clear: this is unacceptable, considering the infection control safety protocols and procedures LHSC has put in place over the past eight months.” Story continues below advertisement

The memo prompted six unions representing LHSC workers to write an open letter, stating that Woods’ comments made their members feel “shamed, blamed, and humiliated, while they are working in the most unfavourable and challenging conditions they have faced in their careers,” according to a report in the London Free Press.
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‘Morale is horrible’ — London, Ont., nurse alleges equipment issues, lack of break space at LHSC

In December, a nurse at LHSC’s Victoria Hospital said staff have been “shortchanged” by an administration that failed to properly prepare for the second wave of the pandemic and attempted to shift blame to front-line workers following cases among employees.The nurse, who Global News agreed not to identify, said “it’s almost impossible to social distance” in the break area used by staff in the emergency department at Victoria Hospital.“Now, people like Mr. Woods, he’s got his own office so he doesn’t have to worry about that kind of thing,” they said at the time.The board’s statement on Monday ends by thanking Woods for his service, adding that an interim president and CEO will be “announced in the coming days.”“LHSC will not be commenting further at this time.”— with files from Global News’ Sawyer Bogdan and Matthew Trevithick. Story continues below advertisement

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