Southlake Regional Health Centre’s President and CEO, Dr. Dave Williams, recently made a deputation to Council, providing an update on our hospital and its commitment to delivering the ultimate patient experience.

As Dr. Williams presented an overview of recent progress, I was struck both by the growing number of patients that Southlake cares for and how much delivering quality care relies on collaboration. The healthcare system is complex, expanding far beyond the hospital walls, and there are many partners that play key roles in ensuring that our community is healthy and gets great care when it is needed.

This got me thinking about two examples that demonstrate how the Town and Southlake are collaborating to improve access to healthcare in our community.

This summer Southlake is planning to move its Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program into the Magna Centre, leveraging the Town’s existing recreation facility to provide a great new space in which their patients can receive prevention and rehabilitation services, following a heart attack or other cardiovascular event. This move will both better utilize the space and provide Southlake patients with enhanced facilities and amenities. Program participants will have access to the Metro pool and our new fitness centre, which patients can continue to use after their rehabilitation is complete.

One of our other partnerships is the innovation centre, CreateIT Now at Southlake. As the population grows and gets older, and healthcare resources continue to be constrained, the hospital is looking for innovative ways to provide quality care while reducing costs. The innovations developed at CreateIT Now are also leveraging healthcare spending to develop our economy, or as Dr. Williams says, “shift the healthcare paradigm from economic drain to economic gain.”

CreateIT Now provides selected entrepreneurs with access to the hospital, so they can test and validate new healthcare products with front-line clinicians and bring these innovative products to market faster. Local companies, like SterileCare, which is working with Southlake to launch a solution that will reduce infections and reduce costs, are showing that this type of collaboration could ultimately lead to a cluster of health technology businesses right here in Newmarket. We have seen a 40 per cent increase in jobs in the Health and Social Assistance Sector over the past 10 years. With CreateIT Now we know we have the potential to continue to bring high-paying knowledge economy jobs to town.

While these are longer term partnerships, there are ways that we can all play a part right now, such as participating in the 2017 Run or Walk for Southlake, presented by Nature’s Emporium, taking place this Sunday, April 30. Anyone can participate, no matter their age or fitness level and the funds raised support the most urgent needs of the hospital.

Even if you can’t participate yourself, you can pledge someone who is running or walking this Sunday. To pledge a participant or to register, visit www.runforsouthlake.ca. Registration closes on Friday, April 28 at 4:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!