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Joining the conversation about local health care

I was pleased to participate in the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) engagement session recently at the New Tecumseth Public Library in Alliston. How exciting to see the room filled with over 80 local residents who are obviously interested in the future of health care and Stevenson Memorial Hospital.

This meeting provided an opportunity for our community members to share experiences in the health care system and to provide personal insight that will help to shape recommendations for health system improvements across this LHIN.

Similar meetings have been held throughout the summer across the Central LHIN’s service area and a final summary of findings will be produced in the coming weeks. A new Citizens Health Advisory Council is being created to give communities a stronger voice in the future of health care and residents in Stevenson’s service area are invited to apply for a seat.

Many comments were voiced at the Alliston meeting related to services provided by Stevenson. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate and share their stories. Many supported our birthing unit and others shared their concerns about mental health, seniors’ care and other issues. It was heart-warming to hear happy new moms talk about wonderful birthing experiences at Stevenson and enlightening to hear family members share their frustrations finding palliative care and youth mental health services in this community.

Health care is certainly a complicated issue and I know that navigating the system can be challenging. At Stevenson, we work hard to provide access to a broad range of health care services close to home.  We work with our many community partners to close the gaps and the LHIN is a critically important partner in that process.

The Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is one of 14 LHINs established by the Government of Ontario in 2006 to plan, coordinate, integrate and fund health services at the local level. For Ontario’s health care system, this means that people are receiving the right care, at the right time, in the right place. This is being achieved through the LHINs by putting local health dollars where they are most needed, based on community and provincial priorities.

Legislation gives the LHINs the power and authority to effectively plan, coordinate and fund their local health systems to make it easier for patients to access the care they need.

LHINs are structured on a principle that community-based care is best planned, coordinated and funded in an integrated manner within the local community because local people are best able to determine their health service needs and priorities. They work with local health providers and community members to develop an integrated health service plan for their local area.

I applaud our LHIN for engaging the community and listening to individuals who depend on Stevenson and our health care partners. By working together, we can continue to ensure that high quality services are available close to home as we evolve to meet the needs of this growing community.

As we look forward to the findings of this summer’s engagement sessions and the creation of the Citizens Health Advisory Council, I invite you to share your comments about Stevenson’s services directly with me by email or phone.

Annette Jones

President  & CEO