Dear Northerners

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!  A giant thank you to all you who presented in front of provincial Standing Committee on Social Policy!  It’s not every day one of these committees visits the North East. But on February 4th it spent a long day in Sudbury, as part of its review of the legislation that created the Local Health Integration Networks … and boy did it hear from Northerners! 

Almost 30 Northerners from five communities shared their ideas on how health care in Northeastern Ontario can be strengthened.  Many voices were 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, consumers and the private sector.

Louisefeb2014We’ve been looking forward to this tri-party review for a long time, as it gave us the opportunity to both talk about the work we’re doing, as well as hear from other Northerners about their experiences. 

I’ll admit going into the day feeling a little nervous, as this was a place and space for people to speak frankly. I’ll tell you, I left feeling charged with energy and renewed purpose.

Northerners overwhelmingly spoke about keeping the LHIN model and building on what we have accomplished together:

  • “Speaking as a Table chair the NE LHIN is our LHIN. 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,” said Alan McQuarrie, ED of the Community Counseling Centre of Nipissing.
  • “We ask that they stay the course,” said Joel Johnson, Family Program Manager at People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health (in North Bay).
  • “I can honestly say the NE LHIN has listened and heard. 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,” said Janet Fathers, RN with Noojmowin Teg Health Centre on Manitoulin Island. “The LHINs have their ears to the ground. They listen.”
  • Architect Jeff Perry credited our “ability to address homegrown solutions” to move projects, including a senior’s affordable and assisted living residence in Walden, forward.
  • “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.

To all of those who presented, we will follow up with you on the ideas you shared to strengthen care in our communities.

Louise Paquette

CEO, North East LHIN