As the fiscal year encompassed the first year of COVID-19 it was a major focus of CEO Helga Bryant’s overview.
Bryant says this past year was different as the news of vaccines being approved and distributed in winter 2020 gave a sense of hope that it would be the light at the end of the COVID tunnel.
She adds the pandemic allowed the authority to implement system changes such as in public health and primary care in communities, expanding virtual care options, and the value of provincial planning taking the obstacles northern health care has into account. She explained the province pulled together, there was commitment from all of the service delivery organizations to follow provincial direction and to be locked in step with what each of them were doing from a planning perspective, from a resource perspective and a huge outcome of that was they had many opportunities to really increase awareness of the challenges in the north. She thinks there’s far more understanding now of the challenges around care delivery in northern Manitoba than there was before COVID.
On the other hand staff recruitment and retention continues to be something the Health Region has to address, particularly with health care aide positions.
To remedy this the provincial government is working with Long Term Care to develop a program that would allow the authority to hire uncertified Health Care Aides for an extended orientation.
However Bryant stated they were able to fill some vacancies such as key nursing positions.
For the full annual report visit www.northernhealthregion.com.