A Message from Kathy MacNeil, Island Health President & CEO

With summer now underway I'm planning some vacation time away starting next week, and I want to encourage all of you to take your vacation as well. While work plays a significant role in our lives, time off is an important component in achieving a healthy work-life balance and allows us to gain some perspective. With the stress and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important for each of us to rest and rejuvenate. Please enjoy the summer as you take the time to recharge.

I wanted to provide a mid-summer update on the corporate re-organization and the approach we're taking to the important work we have ahead of us. Our new organizational structure at the executive level is officially in place, and changes continue in each of the portfolios as the new structure takes shape. I want to thank each of you for the flexibility demonstrated so far to enable this shift to happen.

As discussed previously, the aim of this new structure is to move Island Health to a regional model of clinical leadership, a move that will help us achieve the goals outlined in our Strategic Framework. The new organizational structure integrates care delivery within communities to promote collaboration and local decision-making.

As we continue the transition to our 'new normal', we have created cross portfolio planning teams called Work Streams.  These teams will maintain a focus on COVID-19 response while looking towards longer term service improvements. 

This Work Stream structure has been designed to quickly remove barriers to progress, enable more transparency to work, which contributes to more collaboration with partners. We also use this structure to promote best practices in activities such as evidence-informed decision-making, project management and change management.  

Our annual work plan is now mostly in place, with accountabilities to deliver on specific initiatives assigned to each Work Stream:

  • Ways of Being and Delivery Support
  • Primary, Community Care and Emergency Departments​
  • Acute Care
  • Surgery, Ambulatory and Diagnostics
  • Underserved, Marginally Housed
  • Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Public Health
  • Indigenous Health
  • Long Term and Congregate Care
  • Health Human Resources & Occupational Health and Safety
  • Enabling Technologies

These streams represent the most important work we have ahead of us. If you'd like to hear more about the intent behind each of the Work Streams, please listen to this audio clip​ of Tuesday's town hall where I had the opportunity to go into more depth about each of them.

Your participation is critical as we continue to move into this new way of working. I know these organizational changes are not easy, as they often come with uncertainty and questions. Please know that I appreciate your willingness to work with us through this.

Finally, I want to reiterate the importance of the anti-Indigenous racism work currently underway.

Our organization fully supports the investigation of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on allegations about racist activities, and the wider look into Indigenous-specific racism in our health system that will be part of her review.

We continue the work within our own organization, including our commitment to move towards mandatory cultural safety training for our staff and medical staff, improving patient complaint processes to meet the needs and expectations of Indigenous peoples, and providing access to culturally safe supports for Indigenous staff and medical staff.

Island Health has started a journey of increasing culturally safe supports for Indigenous peoples when receiving care – but we know we have a long way to go. We will be increasing the number of Aboriginal Liaison Nurses at our sites and exploring the establishment of Indigenous Patient Advocate roles as well. We carry out this work in partnership with Indigenous communities to ensure our actions are Indigenous-led.

There are many exciting and profound changes coming to Island Health. We are undertaking these changes at a challenging and unpredictable time with a global pandemic shaping everything we do. The trajectory of COVID-19 infections, along with the hope for new treatments and for a vaccine, will require us to reprioritize and adapt the work we do for some time to come.

I look forward to continuing on this journey of change together as we work towards our vision of excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time.

Enjoy the summer,