Celebrating new beginnings

Many of you have heard the saying “from small beginnings come great things.” This couldn’t ring more true for London Health Sciences Centre

. From our modest beginnings in 1875 at the formerLondon GeneralHospitalto our current, multi-site present, we have grown, evolved and challenged the limits of the practice of medicine each step along the way.

We have now reached a new milestone in our history.  For more than a decade, London Health Sciences Centre has been going through a phase of restructuring and renewal to redefine our role as an acute care academic health centre. In doing so, London Health Sciences Centre has implemented some of the most significant changes in our history. We have worked through 65 internal hospital moves and 28 clinical program transfers withSt. Joseph’s Health Care London. We have also consolidated emergency care at our two hospital sites,UniversityHospitalandVictoriaHospital.

This fall, we celebrated the opening of our newNorthTower. Located atVictoriaHospital, theNorthToweris representative of eight years of planning and construction. It is not only home to many ofVictoriaHospital’s clinical programs, but is also home to Children’s Hospital and the Grace Donnelly Women’s Pavilion. Most importantly, it is a place where we can truly chart the course for the future of healthcare delivery inLondonand the region.

With the completion of theNorthTowerwe have gained 620,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities. The new spaces have been purposefully designed for each specific patient population.  Inpatient rooms are calming environments featuring large windows that offer scenic views of the city, flat-screen bedside patient entertainment systems and perhaps most importantly, the latest in infection safety measures. As a health care facility, theNorthTowerhas set a new standard for how a hospital should be designed and, for this, we are incredibly proud.

There is more ahead as we move into a final phase of restructuring.  Redevelopment of London Health Sciences Centre will provide the community with modernized health care facilities that meet the latest infection prevention and control standards; and barrier-free features to improve accessibility to people with disabilities. Additional operating rooms will be constructed, consolidation of the Department of Medicine and Allied Health Services will occur, and the development of a Family Medicine/Palliative Care Inpatient Unit are scheduled to be completed by 2015. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the care and environments for our patients and our staff.

Across our organization, staff members at London Health Sciences Centre take great pride in the work they do. Our history demonstrates that we have always been on the cutting edge of care, continuously striving to improve our facilities, train the next generation of health care providers and find newer, innovative methods of treatment with our many Canadian, North American and world surgical, technological and medical firsts. The development of theNorthTowercontinues this tradition.

Behind the visible progress evidenced by the newNorthTower, there is a deeper and very important transformation underway, driven by a more holistic perspective to health care provision in the region. More than ever before, we are ensuring that tomorrow’s patient services are being planned from a systems perspective, to be sure that patient experiences dictate how we evolve going forward. This requires tremendous levels of collaboration.

This integration of services and roles enables us to successfully manage the challenges that face hospitals today while at the same time implementing service models that best serve patient needs in the region. Together, we continually ask ourselves what can we do better to serve patients.  It is this steadfast focus on excellent patient care that makes me excited for our future.

From 1978 to 1998, I held several clinical and executive positions at London Health Sciences Centre.  During this twenty year career, I had the opportunity to experience first hand what makes London Health Sciences Centre such an extraordinary organization.  Now, I am grateful to have the opportunity to return as President and CEO, a position I stepped into in late October 2010.  During my first few months I spent my time listening to, and speaking with, members of our hospital.  I heard from our staff and our patients who told me what type of organization they wanted London Health Sciences Centre to become. From this dialogue emerged a new vision for our hospital – a collective vision of “exceptional experiences, extraordinary people and engaging partnerships” which will help guide every decision we make.

I am energized by what London Health Sciences Centre is, and what it will be in the coming years as we extend our legacy of compassionate, innovative and high quality care for generations to come.