THUNDER BAY – In 2003, I identified the expansion of cardiac care in our region as one of my top priorities as a Member of Provincial Parliament. Today, after working together with the Minister of Health, the fantastic medical community in Thunder Bay and community stakeholders, we’ve achieved some extraordinary things. Thunder Bay is now, and for the first time, home to angioplasty services. Thunder Bay area residents are no longer forced to travel far from their homes and families for this important procedure. The angioplasty program has also brought investment and well-paying jobs, but most importantly, having angioplasty services close by saves lives.
Recently, an Expert Panel released its findings regarding TBRHSC’s Angioplasty Program—and the results were impressive. The Expert Panel was established by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to monitor the new program’s safety, effectiveness and sustainability. The panel included respected cardiologists and cardiac surgeons from across the Province. They concluded that TBRHSC’s angioplasty program is providing excellent service and exemplary care. Dr. Bernard Goldman, the panel’s chair, stated: “the quality of care matches anything you would find in Canada. This team has created a model program.”
The same day the panel released its findings, there was more good news: our government gave the go-ahead to a $12.2 million expansion of Thunder Bay Regional’s angioplasty facilities, and $8.5 million of that funding will be coming from the province. The expansion is called the Percutaneous Coronary Interventional (PCI) Angioplasty project. There will be 14,000 square feet of construction to accommodate a new coronary angioplasty suite. The plans include the addition of a second cardiac catheterization lab and the expansion of the cardiology Inpatient Unit. This expansion will significantly increase the angioplasty program’s capacity to service our community. The project also has the added benefit of providing the Thunder Bay area with more construction jobs.
Thunder Bay’s angioplasty facilities are unique. It’s the most remote angioplasty program in Canada, located more than 200 miles away from the closest full-service cardiac centre. With strong support from the Ontario Government, in a short period of time, Thunder Bay has established an angioplasty program that is equal to the best facilities in the country. These services are having a significant impact. They’re currently providing angioplasty to approximately 500 people per year, and almost 1000 angioplasties have been performed at Thunder Bay Regional since the beginning of the program. It’s an amazing success story—and it keeps getting better.
Bill Mauro MPP
Thunder Bay Atikokan