Good Monday morning,

I'll start with my safety update and what happened across UHN last week.

  • Our medical supplies orders are arriving late and with missing items, posing a real risk to our patients. Plexxus, the service we use to procure and distribute medical supplies, recently merged with another company and their distribution centre is struggling to keep up with supply and demand during the transition. Toronto Western and Princess Margaret are especially impacted. Sincere thanks to our staff who are working overtime to resolve all the missing items while managing patient safety and budget risks. This is a priority issue that we are escalating with Plexxus.
  • Toronto General's Emergency Department faced unprecedented numbers of admissions. I try and make it to the emergency room as frequently as possible and on Friday we were in a position of accommodating more Admit to NO Bed patients than ever. I'm very glad that the government of Ontario has made ending hallway medicine priority. We at UHN experience the demands of hallway medicine on an almost daily basis. Thank you to our staff for their perseverance and dedication to our patients, and to TeamUHN for pitching in to do the best we can in such a tight situation.
  • Major storms and hurricanes are impacting the U.S. and that includes some of the pharmaceutical companies there, resulting in shortages of certain medications. So far, our patients haven't felt the effects of these shortages thanks to the proactive work of our colleagues in Pharmacy at UHN. I had the chance to meet more of the team last week and want to recognize their impressive work to ensure continuity of care across UHN. For those who may not know, they're managing an exponential increase in annual drug backorders and closely monitoring 1,700 items on backorder. We thank them for their continued diligence.
  • There was a forced patient evacuation at Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital due to a three-alarm fire. You can read about it here. Reports say the fire was small but that a third alarm was rung to ensure a safe evacuation. I was glad to hear there were no injuries but this forces us to ask if we could evacuate our patients as quickly if ever faced with such a terrible situation. Work with our Emergency Preparedness team is always ongoing.
  • Finally, another week of good catches and lessons learned from safety issues at UHN here. The catch of the week involves a car again – this time a taxi – although I'm also partial to the catch involving a patient's slippers.

Some good news related to safety and quality we're opening a new General Internal Medicine (GIM) unit today at Toronto General (TG). We know our staff in our Emergency Departments (ED) and inpatient units have been feeling compromised in their ability to deliver safe, quality care because of the increasing demands for our services. Our hope is this unit – which serves as a key piece of UHN's new bed map – will relieve some of those pressures and help ensure patients are in the right place and receiving care from providers in the right area of practice. Thank you to the teams at TG, FM-PRO (Facilities Management - Planning, Redevelopment & Operations), Scott McIntaggart (Senior Vice President, Executive Lead at TG), Mike Nader as well as Decision Support and Brenda Kenefick for the incredible amount of work they've done this past month to manage the multiple moves and required logistics. Also a shout out to the Department of Surgery who have accommodated more than a little inconvenience in the interest of demonstrating the needs of the patient does come first.

Next, quality of work life is an ongoing priority for all on TeamUHN and here are three ways to support that:

  • Complete UHN's Engagement Survey [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] : Our Engagement Survey launches today and I encourage you all to take 10-15 minutes to complete it [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available]. I'm told many changes were introduced to UHN through feedback received in previous surveys – including the way we manage performance for non-union staff – and I am committed to moving your best ideas forward in partnership with our colleagues in Human Resources.
  • Nominate someone for the Living Our Values awards [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available]: Another way of improving quality of work life is by recognizing the great colleagues we're privileged to work with and the HR team introduced a new recognition award at UHN for you to do so. Nominations close on Oct. 5 and winners will be announced in December. If you know someone worthy of this honour, nominate them here!
  • Congratulate our colleagues at Princess Margaret (PM) on their new wellness space: This opened last week and is solely for staff. Great initiative to improve quality of work life and I know our colleagues at PM have been waiting a long time for this. People tell me the space is a "wow" and I look forward to seeing it in person!

Last week, I met with some members of the JDMI (Joint Department of Medical Imaging) and – in addition to learning about their impressive footprint in the imaging world – was thrilled to hear how their team is contributing to the culture of academic practice at UHN. They've created an environment where frontline staff are empowered to present at conferences, lead and support research, and teach clinicians at UHN and beyond. These are practices we want to see in every department here. Also impressed by their success in partnering with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to address issues affecting Ontario's patients.

I also had the chance to share a few thoughts on leadership and building relationships at a session for Emerging Leaders at UHN and a breakfast with Young Leaders at Princess Margaret. Always exciting to connect with bright, forward-thinking minds!

Have a good week,


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