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Niagara Health System seeks public input on delivery of services in the future

Posted Jun 30th, 2008

Niagara, ON - The NHS wants to hear from the public to help identify better ways to deliver quality care to our community and make better use of all of our resources.

The public input will help shape the Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP) submission that the hospital is developing at the request of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Beginning today, members of the public may access a new dedicated section on the NHS website — www.niagarahealth.on.ca — designed specifically for community consultation.

"Although our timeframes are very tight to complete our HIP submission to the LHIN by July 15, we believe it is extremely important that we do our best to obtain input from the people who use our hospital services - the people of Niagara," said Debbie Sevenpifer, NHS President and Chief Executive Officer.

The community consultation section of the website includes extensive information on the status of Niagara residents' health, health-care trends in Canada and beyond, a Question-and Answer section on the HIP, and a series of questions to help solicit input from the public.

"Community input will help us make better, more informed decisions," said Dr. Bill Shragge, NHS Chief of Staff. "Our patients and their families who use the hospital system bring a valuable perspective to the development of our HIP submission."

On May 27, 2008, the HNHB LHIN requested that the NHS submit a HIP that will ensure high quality service for the Niagara community while making the best use of available resources. The HNHB LHIN requested that the HIP "be a clinical services plan that ensures that the necessary expertise and resources are available to provide accessible, quality care for the citizens of Niagara, identifies current and future hospital based services by site, establishes timeframes and specific targets for each year of the HIP, links the proposed strategies of the HIP and the public interest and achieves a balanced operating budget by 2011/12."

The NHS was unable to balance its budget for the year ended March 31 2008, ending the fiscal year with a $17.9-million deficit on a $370-million budget. 
NHS staff, physicians and volunteers have also been encouraged to provide input into the HIP.

"The community consultation section of the website we've developed provides a wealth of information and research about the health status of local communities across Niagara," said Dr. Shragge. "This is the same information we will use to develop recommendations as to how we can and should deliver services into the future."

All responses made through the NHS's HIP website section are confidential. Feedback can be submitted up to midnight July 14, 2008. The website will continue to be updated after July 14, 2008 as more information becomes available.

Niagara residents who do not have access to internet or wish to submit their feedback in paper form are welcome to telephone the hospital at 905-378-4647 extension 43107, to request a printed version of the website information and questionnaire.

"We are hopeful that by enabling members of the public to participate through this initial phase of the planning process, residents will have a better understanding of and support for any changes that are ultimately implemented as a result of the HIP submission," said Mrs. Sevenpifer.

"Some of the views and ideas that may be submitted to inform the HIP process will be at times competing and divergent," said Mrs. Sevenpifer. "We need to hear those views and ideas, factor them into our deliberations on the HIP and then be prepared to explain all of the decisions we're recommending to the LHIN to improve the delivery of hospital care to the residents of Niagara."

"Now that we've taken this important opportunity to develop this online consultation ability, we plan to use it in the future for other purposes to enhance and develop our community outreach efforts," said Mrs. Sevenpifer.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Caroline Bourque Wiley, Consultant, Public Affairs, with the Niagara Health System, at 905-378-4647, ext. 43113; e-mailcwiley@niagarahealth.on.ca

For information on our Hospital Improvement Plan please call or email:
905-378-4647, ext. 43107 or e-mail Hospital Improvement Plan

Niagara Health System