Medical association head defends Ritter

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association president Dr. Brendan Lewis
today called Health Minister Jerome Kennedy's verbal assaults against
executive director Robert Ritter unacceptable.
Lewis said Kennedy's scathing critique of Ritter is "not helpful to solving
the heath care crisis in the province."
"Mr. Kennedy's assertions are factually incorrect, mean-spirited and counter productive
to negotiations. This kind of behavior will not help the NLMA and government achieve
the kind of 'mutually acceptable agreement' that Finance Minister Tom Marshall and the
NLMA have agreed to pursue," Lewis said.
Wednesday, Kennedy went on a rant to reporters about Ritter.
While announcing plans to counter an information and advertising campaign being waged by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA), the health minister took numerous shots at the organization's executive director.
Ritter, according to Kennedy, is the root of all that is wrong as the province and physicians go toe-to-toe in public over contract negotiations.
"We've got an executive director of the NLMA who is going to show Danny Williams who's boss," Kennedy said. "We've got an executive director of the NLMA who is playing internal politics."
Kennedy said Ritter has demonstrated an inability to reach a deal.
Lewis said the membership of the NLMA decides to accept or reject offers.
"Mr. Kennedy should refrain from meddling in the internal affairs of the NLMA or attempting to fragment our membership with distorted information," Lewis said.
"Our executive director, Robert Ritter, has the full support and confidence of our board
of directors and will continue to serve as our lead negotiator. It is the NLMA, and not
Jerome Kennedy, who will decide who best represents physician interests in our
province," Dr. Lewis concluded.
Lewis said he and Ritter have a meeting set up with Marshall and a number of his officials
Friday in an effort to resume negotiations.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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