THUNDER BAY – News – “Cardiovascular surgery would be part of our comprehensive clinical care strategy. Delivered in an academic and research environment, and with us being recognized as a national leader in Patient and Family Centred Care, the initiative would address a pressing need,” states Andree Robichaud, President and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “It is great news that our government leaders are embracing the people of Northwestern Ontario. They are enabling us to be ‘Healthy Together’”.
Robichaud’s comments come as Bill Mauro and Michael Gravelle have expressed that having comprehensive cardiovascular care available closer to home for the people of Northwestern Ontario is a concept both local MPPs support.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) is proposing a new unit to include cardiac surgery and vascular surgery, along with diagnostic and treatment supports, which could treat over 1,000 area patients annually who currently must travel elsewhere for treatment. The proposed Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care Unit (CCCU) would include new operating room suites and a 12-bed inpatient unit.
If approved, the unit would build on and support the hospital’s successful angioplasty program and would allow TBRHSC to become a full-service trauma centre. It would also have research potential in line with other Academic Health Sciences Centres in the province.
Right now many patients across Northwestern Ontario who are requiring heart surgery must fly to Toronto, and then make their way to Hamilton. A week later they must make the return trip home.
At the TBRHSC, admission rates for cardiovascular conditions are 70% higher than the provincial average. Patients of the proposed unit would range from emergency trauma cases through heart and circulatory diseases to those with chronic kidney disease. TBRHSC projects the CCCU would recruit ten new surgeons, anesthetists and other medical specialists, and would lead to 70 additional new highly-skilled jobs for Northwestern Ontario, in addition to construction jobs to build the unit. The current target for opening, if the project is approved, is 2015.
“I fully support Thunder Bay Regional’s proposal to bring comprehensive cardiovascular care services to Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. It’s a plan that makes sense in many different ways—including adding to our research potential and bringing new highly skilled jobs—and would be an excellent fit with our government’s priority to improve access to health care for all people in Ontario,” enthused Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North.
Gravelle’s comments are endorsed by Bill Mauro. “Cardiovascular surgery is the next logical step in the evolution of health care in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. It will build on our very successful angioplasty program, create more good health care jobs, and allow for our local people to receive this health service in our community, without need to travel to Southern Ontario,” concluded Mauro, the MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan.