A pediatric intensive care unit physician questions the change at the top of pediatrics in the Saskatchewan Health Authority, considering the SHA is a few months away from moving into the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

On Wednesday, CTV News obtained an internal email from the SHA notifying all faculty and staff about the removal of Dr. Laurence Givelichian as the provincial head of pediatrics effective May 17.

“I was very surprised, there was no forewarning. There wasn’t even the temperature that things weren’t right as far as I’m concerned,” said Dr. Gregory Hansen. “So when we hear the news it was very startling and surprising.”

Four years ago while Dr. Hansen was working in Manitoba, he said Dr. Givelichian was sitting with him in Hansen’s living room speaking about his vision for pediatrics in Saskatchewan. Hansen said that meeting convinced him to move his family to Saskatoon.

With the news of Givelichian’s removal at the top of pediatrics, he and his colleagues are mourning, he said.

“We miss him, we respect him, we believe in him,” Hansen said, adding with the move to the new hospital coming up soon, he’s concerned not having Givelichian there will create some challenges.

“When a leader is terminated three months before a major move to a new hospital I think it would be awfully naïve to think there would be no significant roadblocks along the way,” Hansen said. “Laurence has been the face of the hospital for many years before there was even a shovel in the ground and so I can’t speak to the extent of it but it would be naïve to think there won’t be any ramifications.”

An SHA spokesperson said in an email said the authority cannot comment on an internal personnel matter.

Givelichian confirmed he was no longer head of pediatrics but declined further comment.

The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital is expected to open its doors this fall.