Report from Gord Wickham

Gord Wickham, Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

On behalf of the Board of Directors at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), I am pleased to provide this community update.

As we approach the two-year mark of this pandemic and cases regionally are surging, it is important to take a moment and let that statistic sink in — this has been going on almost two full years. In that time, people have lost loved ones. The survivors have carried on, often in isolation, missing their families and friends to protect them and themselves from COVID-19. Parents have struggled with the anxiety of supporting both their children and perhaps aging parents. Others have been impacted financially. And many have been and continue to struggle with mental health issues associated with everything I have just laid out. Now I want you to consider for a moment that our front-line health care workers, doctors, and leadership at TBRHSC have been coping with everything I have just listed just like you have – while also having to go to work each day to treat and support our communities through all of this as it continues. And, what an incredible job they have done and continue to do under the most trying circumstances in recent history.

Through all this struggle, there is much to celebrate and give confidence.

For example, the Board is proud that our internal vaccination efforts have been nothing short of amazing. I am proud to note that 100 percent of our active health care workers are now compliant with first dose or fully vaccinated. This includes professional staff and volunteers. As well, the availability of third doses have provided many staff that extra layer of precaution.

We were also proud earlier this month to see the Indigenous Pharmacist Discharge Navigator project begin. This pilot project will provide pharmacy services that are culturally sensitive and respectful of Indigenous traditions and knowledge. This service is an important step to support the smooth transition of patients back to their homes throughout Northwestern Ontario.

And the Board is so proud and grateful for all of you and your support of TBRHSC through the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. The Foundation team has done an amazing job and last month’s 50/50 draw was a jaw-dropping $2.3 million dollars. In the past year, we have seen millions of dollars raised for equipment purchases and infrastructure upgrades, and the Board is truly in awe and immensely grateful for the efforts of the staff and for the Foundation’s success.

Finally, despite the current challenges we face, it has been imperative as a Board and Hospital leadership that we plan for the recovery and the next few years of operations. A great deal of hard work has been going on in the background with regards to Strategic Plan 2026. This is going to be the critical road map for TBRHSC and its priorities over the next few years, so please keep an eye open for news related to this in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you, again to all our front-line staff, leadership, and the communities we serve for your ongoing efforts. Please stay safe and continue to be kind and compassionate with one another.