THUNDER BAY - People living in Northwestern Ontario can have their say on the strategic direction of health care in the region.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is seeking public input on its upcoming strategic plan 2026, which the hospital says will prioritize community needs and advance partnerships and health system integration.
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre president and CEO, and Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute CEO, Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott said the COVID-19 pandemic has created many operational challenges for the hospital.
“It is crucial that we continued planning for how we serve our communities post-pandemic,” she said. “To that end, we want to hear from our front-line staff, the public and our stakeholders to help inspire thinking and create priorities over the next five years.”
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and the Thunder Bay Research Institute will also be releasing a single strategic plan, which is implemented in five year increments.
Work on the strategic plan began earlier this year and the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee has already conducted more than 70 interviews and focus groups.
“Everyone has experiences and expectations to share that can expand the ways we enhance patient outcomes and experiences,” said hospital board chair Matt Simeoni. “So, we are asking people to engage and challenge this process. Now more than ever, it is critical we get this right.”
The hospital has been engaging with thought leaders from various sectors across the province, the country, and internationally.
“These thought leaders are lending insight on future health modelling, health system redesign, post-COVID recovery, while inspiring new and innovative approaches to care at a community and regional level,” added TBRHRI chair Dr. Andrew Dean. “However, this strategic planning process only works if we hear from all stakeholders.”
Crocker Ellacott added that while the pandemic has created many challenges, it also presented new opportunities in health care, such as virtual health care.
“If they have been positive for patients and their families, that those things are integrated into our future,” she said. “We want to challenge ourselves to think about hospitals without walls.”
The hospital plans to complete the strategic plan by this summer. Anyone interested in contributing can do so by visiting the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre website to fill out a survey.