The Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) has welcomed a new physician consultant.
“Dr. Rim Zayed was interviewed in October of 2020, but was not able to join the health unit until February of this year,” said Sue Paterson, chair of the Grey Bruce Public Health Board during a Grey County council meeting held on Thursday.
“A physician consultant is the first step in the process of becoming an associate medical officer of health,” Paterson explained.
Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for the GBHU came under fire earlier this year after his salary was published on the provincial Sunshine List.
The top doc was listed as the highest-paid medical officer of health in the province, earning $613,000 in 2020, a nearly 60-per-cent increase over his base pay of $385,439 reported in 2019.
But Paterson and the board of health quickly came to Arra’s defence, citing staff shortages within the GBHU.
“Throughout all of 2020 and to-date, we have not had an associate medical officer of health. There are certain legislative responsibilities and authority that can only be performed by a medical officer of health or a designated associate appointed by the Minister,” Paterson explained during a presentation to the Owen Sound council in early April.
“Each health unit must have a medical officer of health on call at all times, 24-hours a day. As such, there is no one for whom Dr. Arra could pass over the legislated responsibilities.”
The recent placement of Zayed will begin the process of establishing a new associate medical officer of health at the GBHU and alleviating the legislative responsibilities from Arra, which will aid in reducing his overtime.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca