But on Feb. 4, the Standing Committee on Social Policy reviewing the legislation that created the Local Health Integration Networks spent the day in Sudbury.
Altogether, 29 northerners from five communities shared their ideas on how health care in Northeastern Ontario can be strengthened.
Many voices were heard at the table, including those of physicians, Aboriginal organizations, long-term care, community support services, nurses, peer support groups, CCAC, hospitals, mental health and addictions, education and the private sector.
We at the North East LHIN have been looking forward to this tri-party review for a long time, as it gave us the opportunity to share our successes, while offering our suggestions to improve and strengthen operations.
During the day, it was overwhelmingly heard that northerners want to keep the LHIN model and build on what we have accomplished together:
n “Speaking as a table chair, the NE LHIN is our LHIN,” said Alan McQuarrie, ED of the Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing. “But speaking as a citizen and a patient, the NE LHIN is my LHIN and a voice for northerners for a better health care system.”
n “We ask that they stay the course,” said Joel Johnson, Family Program Manager at People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health (in North Bay).
n “I can honestly say the NE LHIN has listened and heard,” said Janet Fathers, RN with Noojmowin Teg Health Centre on Manitoulin Island. “They have paid attention in a way that has impacted our programs and care to make a difference where it really counts in the lives of our clients. The LHINs have their ears to the ground. They listen.”
n Architect Jeff Perry credited our “ability to address homegrown solutions” to move projects, including a seniors’ affordable and assisted living residence in Walden, forward.
n “The NE LHIN has taken many strides and achieved a great many successes for their part in the overhaul and reorganization of the funding processes and practices in Northern Ontario,” said Kelly Zinger, interim ED Meals on Wheels in Sudbury.
And as I concluded in my comments, “I believe the North East LHIN is key to helping fellow northerners develop a made-in-the-North East solution to ultimately answer the question: How do we provide quality care to 565,000 people in a geography bigger than Germany so that northerners can remain as independent as they want and receive as much care as they need?”
Thank you to those northerners who presented and who are submitting written presentations. We will follow up with you on the ideas you are sharing to strengthen care in our communities.
If you’d like to read my full speech to the committee, it can be found on our website at www.nelhin.on.ca.
CEO, North East LHI