Your health care and tax dollars could be the winners in a new partnership between Mackenzie Health and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Officials from both organizations held a joint press conference in Richmond Hill Thursday, May 8, morning to announce they will be working together to establish closer ties for more seamless patient care, reduced duplication and better use of health care dollars.
The partnership will also allow Mackenzie Health to explore opportunities for research and teaching, something Sunnybrook is well known for, said Altaf Stationwala, president and CEO of Mackenzie Health.
Staff and board members from Mackenzie Health and Sunnybrook gathered at the Richmond Hill hospital to celebrate the partnership.
“Our goal with this partnership is simple,” said Blake Goldring, vice-chairperson at Sunnybrook. “We want to improve access to the many highly specialized services Sunnybrook offers to the people of York Region. Our services, in caring for some of the most vulnerable and critically ill and injured patients in the province, will offer people in this community an additional health care security blanket.”
In an area with growing population and aging demographics, one of the most challenging issues for Mackenzie Health is co-ordination of care, Stationwala said.
The two organizations have been engaged in ongoing collaboration for many years with good results, but this memorandum of understanding takes it to a much higher level, Dr. Barry McLellan, president and CEO at Sunnybrook said, calling the partnership “an absolute wonderful fit”.
Each organization has different strengths, said Dina Palozzi, chairperson of Mackenzie’s board of directors.
“Mackenzie is a dynamic, regional health care provider and a regional leader in the treatment and prevention of stroke, chronic disease, seniors health, chronic kidney disease, autism, brain injury and behaviour health sciences. Sunnybrook specializes in tertiary and quaternary care services not available at the community hospital level.”
The partnership will improve access to highly specialized care services such as cardiac and vascular surgery, she said, “ensuring people in our community receive the right care at the right time in the right place.”
Dr. Andy Smith, Sunnybrook’s executive vice president and chief medical executive, said the hospitals are at the vanguard of a new approach in health care, one that views medical services as a provincewide health system, rather than a series of hospitals operating in “ivory towers”.
If you have an accident at Bathurst and Major Mackenzie, you should have the same quick access to Sunnybrook’s burn unit as if your accident was at Bathurst and Lawrence, he said.
Similarly, if you receive cancer surgery at Sunnybrook, “it’s ridiculous to expect you to have to drive back down to Sunnybrook for chemotherapy... Why on earth should you drive all the way down there, fight traffic, pay for parking when you’re sick? This way you can get the same excellent care close to home.”
Mackenzie Health serves a population of more than 600,000 people across southwest York Region and beyond. In 2019, the facility will open the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences cares for 1.2 million patients each year with 10,000 staff, physicians and volunteers. It is affiliated with the University of Toronto and offers a national leading program for the care of Canada’s war veterans.