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March 7, 2003

Nancy Lawrence
Media Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
(519) 685-8500, ext. 77642

Philippa Crawley
Communications Specialist
City of London
(519) 661-2422

Summit 2003 to seek local solutions to national healthcare challenges

Planning team sets tentative date of May 24th for event

(LONDON, Ontario) - Deputy Mayor Russ Monteith and London Hospitals' Joint Committee Chair, Bill Peel are pleased to announce the results of community research that will guide the planning of the upcoming London Health Care Summit. Monteith and Peel are co-chairs of the Health Summit Planning Team.

"Through our research, the planning team has learned that Londoners are most concerned about timely access to health care services," said Monteith. "The top three areas of concern are access to family physicians, access to medical specialists and access to medical tests."

Peel added, "The results of the research will clearly guide our planning for the Health Summit. We want to provide an opportunity for discussion that focuses on local solutions and local supports to meet community concerns as identified in the research."

"As a community-based initiative, Summit 2003 marks an important step in our aim to strengthen the relationship between municipal and healthcare leaders so that London continues to be a centre for healthcare excellence," adds Peel.

The results of the community research, conducted by Insights, Inc., were officially presented to the Community and Protective Services Committee at City Hall on February 24 in preparation for a spring Summit.

"The planning team has established Saturday, May 24 as a tentative date for the health summit, pending confirmation of keynote speakers," said Monteith. "The purpose of the Summit is to explore some of the healthcare challenges we face as nation, then create opportunities for dialogue to seek local solutions to these challenges. We want to begin to explore what a our community can do to confront these challenges."

The summit will be followed by a special report to the community that will be distributed as a newspaper insert following the event. "The report to the community is a necessary part of maintaining the dialogue which will begin at the Summit," says Monteith.

The health summit planning team is comprised of City Council members, London hospitals and foundations representatives, and a member of the Southwestern Ontario Parents Organization (SOPPO).