I am pleased to present my final report of 2019. It has been a good year, highlighted by the remarkable reduction in the amount of time our Hospital spent in Surge Capacity. This is more than a success of numbers; it translates directly to improved patient experiences and staff satisfaction. Several distinct initiatives are behind this achievement, which is a testament to the commitment of our teams and individuals. Our health system partners have also contributed to the developments that make such a positive difference, and I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Board of Directors, to share my appreciation.
Internally, our Hospital and its research arm, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, recently began operating under a new governance structure. As part of the new structure, several standing committees of the Hospital Board of Directors serve both organizations, with representatives of each Board. This further strengthens collaboration and the culture of research, an imperative aspect of our mission and commitment as an academic health sciences centre. I applaud the Boards of both organizations for approving a new affiliation agreement that confirms the provisions of this new governance model; I take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to John Friday, Chair of the Resource Planning Committee, Gord Wickam, Chair of the Governance & Nominations Committee, and Grant Walsh, Chair of the Audit Committee for accepting these new responsibilities.
Collaboration is core to our ability to provide safe quality specialized acute health care in Northwestern Ontario, where people live in communities scattered over an area the size of France. Our Hospital is monitoring the Ontario Health Team (OHT) concept and activity surrounding health transformation. The government of Ontario is introducing OHTs to provide a new way of organizing and delivering care that is more connected to patients in their local communities. As OHTs, health care providers (including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers) will collaborate as one coordinated team – no matter where they provide care. This is a philosophy and practice that already prevails in Northwestern Ontario. Together with partners, our Hospital is building on existing relationships and processes to advance health transformation. Integral to this is supporting the Indigenous communities in their drive to develop an independent health system that respects their Treaty rights. Our commitment to Indigenous Health extends beyond the Hospital walls and includes engaging in efforts to deliver health care for improved experiences and outcomes for Indigenous people.
I am also grateful to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation team for their tireless commitment to raise our share of the capital and medical equipment cost of the cardiovascular surgery program at our Hospital. December 3rd was Giving Tuesday; our Foundation successfully raised funds for that service, bringing the total amount raised to date in support of cardiovascular care to over $12 million. This demonstrates our community’s dedication to keeping Our Hearts at Home. Thank you to those who keep more families together through a donation to fund cardiovascular surgery here at our Hospital.
As 2019 concludes, I want to reflect on the many successes celebrated, as well as the significant milestones achieved in the 5 Strategic Plan 2020 Directions, namely: Patient Experience; Comprehensive Clinical Care; Seniors’ Health; Indigenous Health; and Acute Mental Health. These accomplishments are the result of the combined efforts and dedication of our staff, professional staff, researchers, learners, patient family advisors and volunteers. On behalf of the thousands of people whose lives have been touched, and the entire Board of Directors, I wish them the very best of the holiday season.
As a final note, Christmas is a time for families and friends to be together – to laugh, to love and to share in the magic of the season. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I wish everyone throughout Northwestern Ontario many blessings this holiday season, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy & healthy New Year.