Report from the Chair – Susan Fraser

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre - TBRHSC - Aerial View Northeast
Aerial View of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

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

THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – As we head into what is traditionally the busiest season of the year, TBRHSC continues to provide care to a high number of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients. These patients no longer need the level of care provided at the hospital (acute care), but are not able to be discharged because there is no safe location available for them (a long-term care facility, the patient’s own home with support from community care providers, or rehabilitation).

The average number of ALC patients at TBRHSC over the past six months is 57.2, compared to 48.9 during the same period last year. This growth contributes to overcapacity challenges and Gridlock. In an effort to ease pressure at TBRHSC, ten temporary beds were opened on September 19. We continue to work with our partners to identify long-term strategies.    

We have also undertaken a number of initiatives to address an Emergency Department (ED) physician shortage. TBRHSC is collaborating with the North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Thunder Bay Emergency Physicians Inc., and an Emergency Physician Manpower Steering Committee has been formed. Dr. Stewart Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs, is Chair of the committee, which continues to work to identify both short and long term strategies for the recruitment and retention of physicians within the ED. To assist with the coordinated recruitment efforts, Dr. Michael Chang has been appointed Recruitment Lead within the ED at TBRHSC. I extend my gratitude to the dedicate ED team which continues to provide quality care during our manpower shortfall.

I am also appreciative of our partners in healthcare, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI), who contribute so effectively to our advancement. 

On October 10, Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign Chair, Paul Fitzpatrick, announced the launch of a $5.9 million fundraising campaign in support of TBRHSC’s Regional Cancer Care. To help Regional Cancer Care become the best centre in the province and give patients the best chance possible to survive cancer requires a substantial investment by our community of $5.9 million. I am thrilled that the efforts of the Health Sciences Foundation have already resulted in $3 million raised towards this important goal. Donations to the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign will provide funding in three critical key areas of cancer care: Exceptional Diagnoses, Exceptional Treatment and Exceptional Research.

On October 16, the 6th Annual Retreat of the TBRRI brought together researchers, clinicians, Board Directors and community partners to discuss how novel medical technologies being developed in Thunder Bay can have an impact on the future of healthcare and the economy in the region. As one of Ontario’s 24 research hospitals, TBRHSC in partnership with TBRRI is contributing to a significant health research enterprise. It is exciting to see the benefits that will persist as TBRRI continues to implement its strategic plan, including a number of spin-off companies, job creation and the development of a knowledge-based economy in Northwestern Ontario. 

Also this past month, we became the 9th municipality in Ontario to have a by-law protecting hospital property when the TBRHSC Smoking Prohibition By-Law passed at City Council on October 21. I take this opportunity to thank the many individuals and organizations who have supported our commitment to improving the health of our patients, visitors, staff, and community. Our Smoke-Free Grounds policy is part of this commitment, and provides real opportunities for smoking cessation.

I close with a reminder to all to “Be Wise, Immunize.” The flu shot can protect you against influenza, and protect those around you. 

We are healthy together.

Respectfully,                    

Susan Fraser, Chair

Board of Directors

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