As the leaves fall and a new season arrives we also welcome a new government to the Ontario legislature. Although there are some new faces in cabinet, many of the high-profile cabinet ministers are returning to their posts, including the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, George Smitherman.

These recent election results means that we will continue to work with people who are familiar with the files and we are familiar with their plans. The Ontario government's platform is titled "Moving Forward Together." UHN has been moving in the same direction as the government for the last four years and we're on track to move in the same direction for the next four years.

Two major areas of focus for both UHN and the government are reducing emergency department wait times; and enhancing community health care services to keep patients out of hospital - which the government is hoping to accomplish through the Aging at Home Strategy.

At UHN, we continue to face challenges with tackling emergency room overcrowding and patient flow but we are making progress through the ED GIM project and the ED Notification project. With ED Notification, when a patient visiting on of UHN's EDs matches predefined criteria, a secure electronic alert is sent to a Toronto Central CCAC Coordinator's blackberry. That coordinator then meets with the patient to assess whether the patient would benefit from community or home supports. Since implementing ED Notification in January 2006, the number of Toronto Central CCAC referrals from UHN has quadrupled, alleviating some pressures on the ED.

Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) is working with partners across the Toronto Central LHIN to improve access to community health services from our acute care setting. By integrating information management projects across the partnership, they are improving the referral process, coordinating services and helping patients get the supports they need, when and where they need it.

Thank you to everyone for your dedication to these important initiatives that are benefiting UHN patients and their families.


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