Health authority proud of Lab West care despite recent suicides, CEO says

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The Labrador-Grenfell Health Authority stands by the services offered in Labrador West, despite comments made by a former psychiatrist that more care is needed in the region.

There have been five suicides over the last eight months in Labrador West, and a cry for more services by some locals and former doctors.

Still, the health authority told CBC News it was proud of its services in the region.

“Labrador-Grenfell Health is proud of the quality health care services provided by all health care professionals in Labrador West and all areas of the region,” said Labrador-Grenfell CEO Tony Wakeham.

Labrador-Grenfell Health declined interview requests, and instead sent a written statement.

The statement comes on the heels of comments made by Dr. Minal Mistry, a psychiatrist in Happy Valley-Goose Bay between 2013 and 2015.

Mistry told CBC he urged the authority to implement better services in the area and warned them of the high suicide risk. He advocated for a permanent specialist to be placed in Lab West, but his request was not fulfilled.

Suicide-Elizabeth Rice

Elizabeth Rice stands next to the grave of her son, 36-year-old Lorne Winters, at a cemetery in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Friday. Winters is one of five people who have died by suicide in the Labrador West communities of Labrador City and Wabush over the past eight months. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Instead, Mistry made regular trips to the region while being based out of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Since leaving his job in 2015, the post has not been filled.

Labrador-Grenfell provides visiting specialists and regular services, aided psychiatry and health consultations by phone.

While the authority stands by the care offered, Mistry is allowed to voice his concerns, Wakeham said.

“[Mistry] was one member of a team of mental health and addictions professionals who deliver a range of services to clients and is entitled to express his opinion.”

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Health authority proud of Lab West care despite recent suicides, CEO says

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