What do you find most important about local healthcare? That’s what the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network wants to find out with an online survey. CEO of the LHIN, Jill Tettmann, says the survey aims to find out what the community needs, what kinds of services are working well, and where the gaps are. She says the feedback will go into developing a strategic plan which will focus on key areas that the LHIN will need to look at over the next three years. Tettmann says the LHIN wants to hear from permanent residents, cottagers and tourists about access to services, how care be improved, and which areas of focus are the most important.

Four areas are being proposed for the LHIN to look at in its strategic plan, and Tettman says they want to hear if these options make sense to the community or if other areas should be looked at as well. For example, one aspect is looking at the working relationship of healthcare professionals in the region, from primary care physicians to home care workers, and if the lines of communication could be better. The other areas are enhancing care for an aging population, strengthening consistent and quality home care, and supporting prevention and management of chronic illness.

Tettmann says some of the problems currently identified in the system are overcapacity issues at the hospital and long wait times in the emergency room. She says these stem from not having proper support in the community to help people stay out of the hospital and not have to resort to going to the ER.

Tettmann says the plan is being developed now, and will go into effect on April 1st, 2019 and will carry through until 2022. So far over 100 people have responded to the survey, and Tettmann says they hope to get at least 500 responses over the next few weeks. The survey is now open online.