By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
A second year of COVID challenges did not stop Northumberland Hills Hospital from a crowning achievement it had been working toward for years – the recent implementation, with six partner hospitals in the Central East Region, of the digital Clinical Information System.
Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Susan Walsh expressed pride in the accomplishment at last week’s NHH Annual General Meeting.
NHH has navigated the Stabilization phase and is moving to the next step – Optimization, Walsh said. That this was done during the pandemic, she added, is without precedent.
And she hopes to leverage this new technology to “maintain an environment that attracts and retains people who are proud and excited to work and volunteer at NHH.”
Board Chair Pam Went said that the hospital’s 2021-2022 year, during much of which the pandemic was gong strong, proved a major challenge that tested everyone’s ingenuity, persistence and endurance.
“I am very happy to report that, to date, the virus is on the losing side,” Went announced.
It was also the year that Walsh’s predecessor Linda Davis retired – “recruiting a new CEO when interviews could not be held in person is not for the faint of heart,” Went remarked.
She applauded the senior leadership team Walsh has assembled, and said they are looking ahead.
“It can be difficult to think about the future when the present is coloured by an ever-present pandemic, but NHH must begin to prepare for the needs of the people of West Northumberland County for the next 20 to 30 years from now, and we must do this immediately.”
Walsh commended her staff for the creativity with which they have navigated another year of the global pandemic.
“Our minds are turning to the future and how we can evolve and adjust to a new normal,” she said.
“We have so many members of our community to thank for the support given to us over the past few years – thank you. We have truly been stronger together.”
The toll COVID took has taken on staff resulted in the development of strategies to address these pressures, including the introduction of their Caring for the Carer campaign.
“Despite the pressures, these initiatives will continue to roll out to support and recharge our team in these tumultuous times,” Walsh said.
Another significant achievement is the launch of a five-month journey, in collaboration with a 23-member multi-disciplinary team, to identify and address the needs of the next three to five years in a new strategic plan.
“The process has a name – Growing Together: Our Future Is Your Future,” she said.
Went paid tribute to three people leaving the board – ex officio member Dr. Frasier Cameron, Second Vice-Chair Dave Slater and nine-year member Catherine Tozer.
Cyndi Gilmer of the Nominations Committee put forth the names of Ward 2 residents Laurel Savoy and Kendra Simmons for three-year terms, and they were elected by acclamation.