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

I am pleased to share my final report of 2022 to the community as Chair of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Board of Directors. And the headline for 2022, in my opinion, is ‘TBRHSC Perseveres Through a Record Challenging Year”.

I know that headline may come as a surprise to some in the community as many have returned to some sense of normalcy over the past few months. However, for our frontline staff, there has been no normalcy for what is now approaching three years since the pandemic began officially in March 2020. 2022 saw a record year of COVID cases at the Hospital, which was exacerbated by the human resources challenges all hospitals are facing and then this nasty flu season we are experiencing.

So, I do encourage the community to thank their friends, family and neighbours who work as frontline healthcare workers and volunteers who have made tremendous sacrifices to help keep our community safe throughout the last year. The Board is inspired by our staff and their unwavering commitment to safe, quality, patient and family centred care. Thank you for your flexibility, resilience and for continually adjusting to each situation as challenges unfolded and continue to evolve. Moving forward, our priority as always is to work with our team, our care partners, our community and region to protect our patients and ensure that critical services are available to those who need them, while maintaining a safe workplace for all.

I mentioned our volunteers and there really is no time of year where they shine more than this time of year which emphasizes the importance of giving. December 5th is recognized as International Volunteer Day, a global celebration that highlights the contributions and positive impacts of volunteers in all areas of society. At our Hospital, volunteers clearly play an integral role. They lend their time and skills to support patients and families, and improve the way we work and provide care across the organization. We would like to take this opportunity to offer a heartfelt “Thank You” to our dedicated volunteers. Our volunteer programs could not be a reality without the ongoing support of staff and managers – thank you for enabling our volunteers to make a difference in providing Patient and Family Centred Care at our Hospital.

In keeping with the importance of volunteers, I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of the Board and Hospital for the valuable contributions that Bonnie Pelletier has made in her Board Director position since June 2021. We very much appreciated her legal expertise and guidance throughout her time on our Board and her resignation is reluctantly accepted. We thank Bonnie for her efforts and wish her well.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of CEO Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, who just celebrated two years in the role. Taking over the head of a hospital isn’t easy at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Rhonda has led with determination, endurance and grace. And with the help of her Senior Leadership Team and staff, this past year TBRHSC was among a group of select hospitals in Canada to receive the highest possible designation from Accreditation Canada, ‘Accredited with Exemplary Standing’. Exemplary Standing is Accreditation Canada’s highest designation and is awarded to an organization that has gone beyond the requirements of the accreditation program, demonstrating excellence in quality improvements. So, congratulations to Rhonda and the entire team. The community should feel confident that the Hospital has a Strategic Plan in progress and is in good hands with momentum moving forward into 2023.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, best wishes for a joyous holiday season and healthy and happy New Year ahead.