Good Tuesday morning – and sincere thanks to all on TeamUHN who cared for and supported our patients this long weekend.

Here's what happened in safety last week:

  • Sick days and staffing: UHN's average number of sick days is quite good compared to the average in research hospitals. That said, if we could reduce our average number of sick days by one additional day, we could almost meet our likely savings target for the next fiscal year. One day is equal to 26 full-time positions. We all have an incentive to avoid getting sick by practicing safe hand hygiene, sneezing into tissues or our sleeves, and getting our flu shots. Toronto General faced significant staffing issues in their ICUs last week because many staff members were ill and I know that took a toll. Thank you to those who managed the situation so their colleagues could stay home and recover.
  • Update on our Plexxus issue: For those who don't know, we are receiving delayed and incomplete orders of medical supplies due to challenges at Plexxus' distribution centre. Representatives from Plexxus came in last week to update our Senior Management Team and are aware of the situation our staff have been put in – we can expect them to address this serious issue with a strong sense of urgency.
  • Fly in our operating room (OR): Maintaining the sterility of our OR environments is something our staff and physicians are highly committed to yet, despite their efforts, we've had to delay a few procedures because flies made their way into an OR. Ron Swail, our Vice President of Facilities Operations and Maintenance, is investigating and looking for ways to prevent this from happening again.
  • And now, let's recognize some of our staff members for these good catches here. Remember you can submit ones you hear about using this form.

Last week, Minister Christine Elliott announced funding for new hospital beds across Ontario as part of $90 million in additional investment to help end hallway medicine.

  • We're finding out what this means for UHN but I am optimistic this will help with overcrowding in Ontario's Emergency Departments (ED). We're doing our part to help Minister Elliott end hallway medicine through initiatives such as our Over Capacity Protocol (OCP) – which improves our ability to adapt to service pressures – but I also know Toronto General's ED saw nearly double their average number of admissions at one point last week and that Toronto Western's ED volumes also remain above normal. So the funding is very welcome.
  • Some confirmed good news: The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is allocating 192 long-term care beds to us for our proposed Lakeside 2 Long-Term Care Home. The early work to plan this project is underway.
  • Minister Elliott also announced the members of the Premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine. Pleased to see many great names including UHN's Board member Ms. Shirlee Sharkey, President & CEO of Saint Elizabeth Health; Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, the Dean of the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Dr. Richard Reznick, UHN's former Vice President of Research at UHN and now the Dean of Medicine at Queen's University; and our friend Dr. Jack Kitts from the Ottawa Hospital.

Next, in honour of Cyber Security Awareness Month, I'll share a quick story to show how phishing scams are becoming increasingly difficult to spot. Several fraudulent emails recently went out under the name "Kevin Smith" with the message "Are you still in the office?". The "tell" was it came from a non-UHN email address. Those who replied received a series of responses which eventually led to a request to purchase several iTunes gift cards. Thankfully, no one fell victim to that part and the messages were forwarded to so we could manage the issue. Let's remember to stay alert and prevent cyber-attacks that could impact patient care, research efforts and employee information! Our UHN Digital colleagues block more than 1,000 malicious events every month but cyber security is our shared responsibility. You have an opportunity to help determine how we'll educate TeamUHN on cyber security moving forward by filling out this survey (and entering to win a gift card).

Finally, if you know great colleagues who deserve recognition – and I know you all do – please nominate them here [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] for our Living our Values award. I've been reading your submissions including one about someone who has consistently demonstrated teamwork, compassion and integrity at one of our research labs since its inception many decades ago. This person is also described as the "quiet glue that keeps our laboratory running." High praise! Nominations close Oct. 15.

Have a good week,


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