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Canada: MTC medical care gets slammed.
Former HDH emerg head slams Superjail health service
Raymond Bowe
Friday, March 12, 2004

Local News - It has been a year since Huronia District Hospital's former chief of emergency sounded alarm bells regarding a list of concerns about the superjail, which he says have yet to be acted upon.

In March of 2003, Dr. Martin McNamara said there were unattended injuries and a trickle of information coming out of the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), commonly referred to as the superjail.

"At the moment, nothing has changed," McNamara told The Free Press. "There was no follow-up.

"It's like beating your head on concrete," McNamara said.

Jail officials, however, say they exceed the minimum requirements for the number of hours of physician time set forth by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, which was confirmed by the ministry.

"It's frustrating," said McNamara, who was chief of emergency at HDH for more than two years. "All of the cases were left in limbo.”

“You have to go through an incredible maze to get answers (about anything)."

McNamara's other concern last year was that doctors' orders were being ignored, but he said a system of fax/communication was set up where orders can be sent so a prisoner's treatment plan can continue while imprisoned.

An issue of McNamara's which has risen to the top since last year is the staff turnover rate in the jail's medical ward.

As chief of ER, McNamara had been charged with the task of reviewing cases brought to his attention by other doctors.

Although he could not say exactly how many, "several cases... of prisoners being lost in the cracks resulted in a number of close calls the first 14 months the jail was open," McNamara said.

After McNamara raised those concerns in the media, he was asked by former assistant deputy-minister of corrections to explain his comments at Queen's Park. McNamara said he made officials aware of the details — which he added they were surprised to hear — and told they would investigate further, and report back to the doctor with their findings.

It's one year later and no one has, McNamara said.

For more on this story please pick up a copy of the Friday March 12th Free Press

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