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Message from Bonnie Adamson

2012 Annual Community Meeting
Wednesday, June 20


Thank you, Peter.


I want to start by acknowledging Peter Johnson for volunteering his time, energy, and leadership as our Board Chair for the past two terms.  With nearly 30 years’ experience serving London Health Sciences Centre in a number of capacities, I am sure that Peter has many stories to tell about serving as a steward of health care in our community. And as he prepares to step down as Board Chair following two successful terms, I’d like to personally thank you Peter for making me feel so welcome when I returned to LHSC in 2010, and also for your dedication to advancing health care in London and our region.  I would also like to acknowledge all members of the Board of Directors, who generously volunteer to share their skills, knowledge and time to help guide our hospital.

I would also like to welcome our incoming Board Chair, Ruthe Anne Conyngham. I look forward to working with Ruthe Anne as we continue our transformation at LHSC.

There has been some of the tremendous work accomplished at LHSC over the past year. I’d like you to look around at the space we’re currently in: the state-of-the-art Sumner Auditorium in our beautiful new North Tower. During this building’s construction, we have held two previous Annual General Meetings in this space, but back then it was an empty shell — the “future home” of Children’s Hospital, the Grace Donnelly Women’s Health Pavilion, Mental Health Services, and our consolidated Lab Services. 

Today, all of those groups—and more—now call this space home, and I want to thank the more than 1,000 people who helped us celebrate its official opening last September. As a health care facility, the North Tower has set a new standard for how a hospital should be designed, and the tremendous support we received to make that day possible was a testament to the significance of our hospital in this community, and a tribute to the incredible staff, physicians and volunteers who work so hard, every day, to make a genuine difference to those in need of care.

That legacy of care at LHSC was also celebrated last fall, when we opened the doors to South Street Hospital to the community for a once-in-a-lifetime, behind-the-scenes look at the spaces many had formerly worked, visited, or spent time in as a patient. It was an event 136 years in the making, with hallways that had sat quiet and nearly empty for years, suddenly filled to bursting with laughter, tears, memories and a tangible sense of nostalgia. While the walls of South Street Hospital may not stand forever, the memories and emotions experienced by all those who spent time within them will certainly last a lifetime. Throughout that weekend in September, it was my honour to personally greet the nearly 6,000 people who attended — setting a new attendance record for the Doors Open London event and reminding us o the central role our hospital has played, and continues to play, for London and southwestern Ontario.

These two milestone events, along with a number of other exceptional experiences, extraordinary people, and engaging partnerships helped to make this a year we will always remember at London Health Sciences Centre. In February, we had the pleasure of celebrating the Multi-Organ Transplant Program’s 600th heart transplant. Thirty years ago, ours was the first and only centre performing heart transplants in Canada, and the program has now performed more heart transplants than any other centre in the country.

At the end of last year, LHSC hosted on-site surveyors from Accreditation Canada and I am pleased to tell you that we have achieved Accreditation status, with an outstanding 96% compliance rate against more than 2,300 required organizational standards that were assessed. I am also pleased to report that our Multi-Organ Transplant Program, Lab Services, and The Fertility Clinic all achieved accreditation from their respective accrediting bodies.  In addition, five of LHSC’s submitted practices were recognized by Accreditation Canada as Leading Practices, demonstrating exceptional leadership, innovation and commitment to high-quality service delivery.

There were many more accomplishments, celebrations and milestones during the year, and I could go over that list with you, but I always find it’s more poignant to see them for yourself. So we have prepared this short presentation to share some of the highlights of the past year at LHSC.

Show Year in Review (set to music)

In that video, you saw examples of how our vision of Exceptional Experiences, Extraordinary People, and Engaging Partnerships is being lived every day at London Health Sciences Centre. 

Ultimately, LHSC’s success comes from the strength of our people, some of whom we had the opportunity to celebrate recently with the announcement of this year’s President’s Awards winners. In addition to recognizing individuals at LHSC who demonstrate outstanding community service, core values, leadership and innovation, the awards program was expanded to acknowledge our physician leaders at London Health Sciences Centre in honour of the leadership legacy of the late Dr. Murray Girotti. On June 7th, I hosted a ceremony and presented the following people with the 2012 President’s Awards:

  • Frank Filice for Outstanding Community Volunteer Service

  • Pat Doyle-Pettypiece for Core Values: How We Work Together

  • Susan Collins for Core Values: How We Serve Our Patients

  • Karen Peters for Leadership

  • Susan Rosato for Innovation

  • Dr. Claudio Martin for Physician Leadership

Pat, Susan and Karen are here today and I would ask that they please stand.

I also want to take a moment to recognize the strong leadership team at LHSC – not just the Senior Leadership Team, but the entire team of leaders that helps make LHSC a better place for patient care every single day.

This entire team has embarked on a leadership transformation journey. Ultimately, this journey will help drive the cultural change we are working to achieve at London Health Sciences Centre towards becoming a learning organization, which will see us move:



It has been just over 18 months since I returned to London Health Sciences Centre, and I am pleased to report that we are already seeing tremendous positive progress in our infection control rates and system-wide patient access challenges. Both of these areas remain my Calls to Action and they will remain our top priorities this year.

As you all know, hand hygiene compliance is one of the most important factors in infection control, yet one of the most difficult to achieve. One year ago, LHSC’s hand hygiene rates were not good – we had some of the lowest in the province. Corporately, we are now making great strides forward with a 50% improvement in our rates, with some areas now recording 100% hand hygiene compliance. 

We are working to achieve a culture of 200% accountability, so that every person is 100% accountable to wash their hands, and 100% accountable to ensuring those around them are also washing their hands. We must create a culture in which the ONLY response to being asked or reminded to wash our hands is THANK YOU. Our hand hygiene rates are now posted at all of our hospital entrances to further enhance our accountability in this area. I hope you will all do your part any time you visit as well.

With hospital-wide improvement in our hand hygiene rates, we have also started to see some positive improvement in our MRSA infection rates and I am confident that we’ll soon see a similar positive trend in our C. diff and VRE rates, both of which have been ongoing challenges. As we implement new education programs for staff, we are also working to educate our community, patients and visitors, who may bring many of these infections into the hospital with them. We now have signs at each entrance encouraging everyone to wash their hands to help protect the safety of our patients.

In addition to teams who are dedicated to addressing our infection safety issues, we also have a dedicated team working on systemic challenges in bed access. In the past, LHSC has had anywhere from 60 to 100 of its beds taken up by Alternate Level of Care—or ALC— patients.  These are patients who do not require acute care services, but a bed in a more appropriate facility, such as long-term-care, is not available. This prevents acutely ill patients from being admitted. 

The Home First project was launched at LHSC last November. The program has already seen more than 70 elderly patients be discharged home—with the supports in place—where they can make a more fully informed decision with their family regarding long-term care. Until the Home First program’s implementation, LHSC had up to 40 newly designated ALC patients admitted each month By the end of May, I am happy to report there were just 12, and as of yesterday our total ALC patient population at University and Victoria Hospitals was just 58, meaning care for this patient population is truly shifting from hospital to home.

There are many excellent initiatives underway, driven by dedicated and passionate people who are all focused on providing the best patient experience possible.  Together we are building a new culture and defining a stronger future for our organization. With a new strategic roadmap centred on our emerging vision, our guiding principle is to build sustainability to ensure LHSC’s ongoing success.

This will be especially important as we enter into a new era of provincial transformation expected over the next several years. The new funding formula and an intense focus by all constituents on health care issues will result in a fundamental transformation of Ontario’s health care sector in the years ahead.

Our solid financial performance last year positions us well as we enter this period of transformation. While we finished the year with a surplus, putting our hospital in an enviable position relative to other teaching hospitals in Ontario, our surplus will not be sufficient to offset the budget reductions anticipated for 2012/13. To the extent possible, it is our intent to treat the 2012/13 fiscal year as a transitional budget year, meaning that we will work to achieve the necessary cost savings without major adjustments to programs and services, doing our best to protect and enhance patient quality and services and to minimize impacts on staff and physicians. This approach is basically a bridging measure to allow us to begin to scope out the longer-term implications of the more significant health care changes expected in years 2 and 3 of the government's plan.

Fundamental reforms can be expected that will have a major impact on the health system and require active participation with key stakeholders and innovative approaches to achieve tomorrow’s health care solutions.

Looking back on the last year, LHSC had just emerged from a decade of restructuring that necessitated a more “here and now” focus to achieve key restructuring deliverables and restore financial stability. With those challenges largely in in hand, LHSC has been able to turn its focus to a more forward-looking, strategic mindset as we continue our journey to become a true learning organization. Some of the key accomplishments we have achieved include:

  • Implementing a robust strategic planning process to create focus, alignment and clear objectives, measures, and accountabilities;

  • Strengthening of our governance processes and financial controls;

  • Intensifying LHSC’s focus on, and increasing investment in, our core deliverables of patient care and access, with 9 projects completed and 11 more well underway;

  • Opening 100 new beds

  • Completing a leadership re-alignment, impacting over 100 leaders, to facilitate our strategic and operational priorities, and;

  • Re-orienting decision-making from a hospital-centric to a patient-centric model.

For the year ahead, we will continue with our priority focus on improving quality and access for patients, working on both our internal processes and system-wide solutions together with our regional partners. Because I have always believed that the answers to our challenges lie in the hearts and minds of our people, we will soon be announcing a new Office of Innovation — a virtual office backed by a robust process to better capture and act upon all of the great ideas that will help us continue strengthening LHSC.

We will also implement the next step in our strategic planning process for the years ahead, adopting a new model that is truly patient-centred. That means engaging patients as partners in helping us define what is best through what we’re calling the Patient Experience Design process, and we plan to re-engage our current Community Advisory Council volunteers and other community representatives to help with that process in the months ahead. I am genuinely excited by the potential this approach has to really move us forward, allowing us to better serve our patients.

We are making solid strides towards improved patient care and access and I know we will continue our success in these areas. And across all aspects of our business, we are consciously operating in a more open and transparent manner.

As part of that, we are working to reach out more to our community, through increased media engagements, more speaking opportunities in the community, an enhanced website, new social media platforms, and exciting new publication that I am delighted to share with you here today for the first time.

For those that have attended our Annual Community Meetings in the past, you may have noticed something a little different when you walked in. There was no Annual Report available to pick up. Instead, we have re-allocated the Annual Report funds to our new publication called “inside” LHSC.

This publication will feature compelling and inspiring patient care stories, as well as helpful information and an ‘inside’ look at the pressing challenges we face today. In the pages of our first edition, you’ll read about a young boy’s simultaneous fight with cancer and anorexia nervosa, find out more about the ceremonial gong and bell in our London Regional Cancer Program, and explore some of the reasons behind the wait times in our Emergency Departments. I want to thank all those patients, staff, physicians and community partners who participated in the creation of this first issue. For those of you hear today, I am pleased to provide you a sneak preview as the publication will be inserted in the London Free Press this Saturday.

We will be publishing and distributing a new copy of “inside” three times a year throughout the community. I encourage you to visit the new website that complements this publication, where you will find videos, additional content, and a feedback survey so we can gauge what our readers think and solicit their story ideas for future editions.

I can see many of you are already flipping through the pages, and so I will conclude my remarks—and have Peter conclude today’s meeting—to let you read about the exceptional experiences, extraordinary people and engaging partnerships that make me proud of what London Health Sciences Centre is today. I am energized what by we can be in the coming years as we extend our legacy of compassionate, innovative, and high-quality care for generations to come.

Thank you.