It has been a few weeks since the release of my interim report as Supervisor of Niagara Health System. I have been very encouraged by the response in the community thus far. To-date I have received nearly 100 new emails on the report, and nearly 5,000 residents of Niagara have read the report online at our NHS website.
For the most part, the feedback I have received has been positive, and there is a clear willingness by many to see the Region’s health care delivery system move forward. The renewal of hospital facilities and consolidation of clinical programs and services is an important objective and is an opportunity that we should collectively seize.
Where I have detected some anxiety is regarding centralization of some services. Please be assured that these concerns were considered in formulating the report, driven by what model would yield the best patient experience and outcomes, as well as, access, and affordability. Where concerns persist, clinical and medical leadership are developing plans that should reassure those that are concerned. Ultimately this model is consistent with best practice models that have been implemented across Canada and internationally, and I feel strongly the model is the best opportunity to deliver high quality care in uncertain economic times.
Many elected officials share this perspective and have quickly pledged their support. I am grateful to the Mayors of the South, working with Regional Chair , as they work toward determining a proposed location for the new hospital and Urgent Care Centre. Having spoken to this group on Friday, I am increasingly encouraged that they will work together to recommend location for proposed new hospital facility and urgent care centre, taking into consideration population density and the best interests of the citizens of the Niagara Region.
Before I submit my final recommendations to the Minister in June, I will continue an extensive consultation process with our community, elected leaders and the NHS staff and physicians. In a few weeks a poll will be conducted by a recognized polling firm of all 12 communities making up the Niagara Region. I also continue to encourage feedback through my email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and will keep the community informed of developments through this blog and through the important work of our media colleagues.
Lastly I’d like to close by extending my sincerest appreciation to the staff, physicians, and volunteers of Niagara Health System. This has no doubt been a challenging transition for the organization and for those it serves. Through a great deal of uncertainty our healthcare team has shown its commitment to excellence, and we are grateful for their ongoing commitment to the care and caring for our patients.