There has been a great deal of activity since my last posting. I continue to receive a steady flow of input from the communities and interested consumers and providers. The tours of the new St. Catharines Site in particular have been a focus of feedback, and the consolidation of maternal child services remains a hot topic.
Here are updates on work underway:
A. NHS Board Process
You will recall from my report that we have struck a Community-Based Nominating Committee to aid in the selection of the new Board for Niagara Health System. This committee is made up of dedicated community leaders with governance experience including:
- Mr. Gary Burroughs, Chair of Niagara Regional Council
- Mr. Art Frank, President of Casino Niagara
- Ms. Cathy Hopkins, local business owner and frequent volunteer
- Mr. John Marsh, retired CEO and philanthropist, Port Colborne
- Ms. Tamara Paton, management consultant and frequent volunteer
- Mr. Doug Rapelje, advocate for seniors and healthcare quality
- Dr. Karl Stobbe, leader of the McMaster Medical School’s Niagara campus
- Mr. John Suk, retired CEO, management consultant, and governance expert
By the end of December, the committee received nearly 60 applicants for positions on the new Board. At this time, interviews are underway, and I hope to announce the new Board in the near future. I am grateful to the committee for their work.
B. Urgent Care Centres
You will also recall that the “southern” mayors unanimously recommended either of two sites for a consolidated new hospital and requested two urgent care centres rather than one, which my report supported. A great deal of work has been done to examine most appropriate sites based on the Lyons Creek and QEW option selected for a new hospital, and we continue to work with the Region to determine the best locations for access to urgent care for the public and for our partners at Niagara EMS.
I expect this work can be completed in the near future, and I will keep the community informed as this work progresses.
C. Culture of Caring
Lastly a reminder to all about the expectations of the new culture at Niagara Health System. I am conscious that we are asking a lot of our staff at this time, from dealing with a challenging budgetary situation, to preparing for the changes related to the opening of the new St. Catharines Site and continuing our mission at all existing sites, to adhering to the highest standards for infection control. We cannot falter on any of those priorities, but above them all we have to give great attention to creating the strongest possible culture of caring at NHS. Kind, compassionate, evidence informed care doesn’t cost more but actually less.
Much of this work is underway, from staff, manager and physician training, to an enhanced complaints process. I am also grateful to our volunteers and foundations for their role in building this culture. Perhaps the most important ingredient is that we hold each other accountable by living our values of compassion, professionalism, and respect. I encourage everyone on the NHS team to be bold in upholding these values, even if it means having to speak up when colleagues or superiors are not meeting the mark. We can no longer tolerate behaviours which are inconsistent with why we exist and what we promise to those in need of our care. We must all be leaders as we take bold steps forward.
Dr. Kevin Smith