As you’ll recall, we engaged a private polling firm to test the response to our recommendations. I have now received the polling results from Pollara. The complete report is available here:
I am overall very encouraged by the findings of the report. Though communities where existing facilities would close are, as expected, concerned or in some cases opposed, there is almost universal support for the building of a new hospital serving South Niagara. Residents polled say they are willing to drive further – almost double the time – to their local hospital, and ¾ of the people polled say would drive as much as 30 minutes longer for the highest quality of care possible. Unquestionably, our goal with our community and staff is in ensuring that Quality remain our #1 priority. It is clear to me that the fewer sites are an essential part of improving how we care for patients and how we create an environment of high quality work life, including reasonable on call responsibilities.
You will recall that when my Interim Report was released on May 3, 2012, I also announced that polling would be an essential component of community engagement, allowing large numbers of the public to weigh-in, many of whom otherwise may not have participated in the dialogue. I also value polling highly for its accuracy and scientific nature. We now have a very representative sample of the communities we serve, and their reactions to my interim report. The polling contacted approximately 1,000 people across the communities of Niagara.
Of added value from the polling is the clear perception – and important reminder – that we still have some way to go in rebuilding confidence in the NHS by some. I believe this report reinforces the need for continued attention to further improve patient care and caring, and continued transparency and dialogue on significant issues. These issues will be further addressed in my final report.
In addition to polling, we also invited members of the community and our staff to respond with their views on the report and to ask any questions. To June 22, 2012, we have received 91 emails or letters commenting on the report. Based on a high level analysis of the responses we determined responses fall into the following 3 categories , namely:
- Overall I support the recommendations in the Report- 43 respondents;
- Overall I don’t support the recommendations in the Report- 29 respondents ;
- Neutral-i.e., questions but no clear indication of support/non-support – 17 respondents.
Many of the questions relate to the following main themes:
- siting options for the new South Hospital;
- access to services;
- future use of existing NHS buildings;
- consolidation of certain clinical programs-particularly Obstetrics and Pediatrics;
- selection process for the new NHS Board of Directors.
I am now working diligently to complete a final report, considering all the feedback I have received over 10 months of working with Niagara Health System. My expectation is that my final report will be forwarded to the Minister by mid-July which will allow for consideration of the feedback we have received. As noted in the previous blog there will still be a number of matters to finalize such as preferred site of the new south hospital but this will take more time and will be added to the report through addenda. All material related to the report will be posted on our NHS website.
Lastly I would like to thank the many members of the community who have participated in this cycle of feedback.