West Nipissing General Hospital

Queen’s Park feels far away, and hearing about what goes on within the Legislative Assembly of Ontario somehow feels farther still. And yet, decisions made by our elected officials have a real impact on our ability to deliver care to our local communities.

This is why yesterday’s visit from our local MPP John Vanthof felt important and provided an opportunity for our new CEO and President Sue LeBeau to share her knowledge on some of the challenges and opportunities that small hospitals face.

While this was an informal meeting, the two were able to talk about their priorities, and agreed on some of the key challenges in healthcare. One of the major points discussed had to do with keeping a balanced budget despite the added pressures of inflation and the increased costs due to staffing shortages.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and practices are forever changed” shared LeBeau, specifying that these changes have increased hospital spending in an unprecedented way.

Mr. Vanthof agreed that things have indeed changed, and asked how he can help to ensure that our region’s healthcare sector is well supported by our provincial leaders.

LeBeau responded that an acknowledgement of the unprecedented challenges that the healthcare sector faces would be a good place to start. She added that she doesn’t expect anyone to have all of the answers but that she hopes our government will continue to be open to discussing innovative ideas that transcend organizational lines, support our treasured healthcare workers, and allow us to better serve the healthcare needs of our community.

All in all, Mr. Vanthof’s visit, which concluded with a tour of the hospital, provided a great opportunity for him to connect with staff and hear about their experiences. It also helped build a line of communication between local healthcare needs and the provincial legislature.