Health unit to hear results of review

Northwestern Health Unit staff and municipal councils across the region will get the results of its much anticipated operational review starting this week.
The review, done at the request of municipal governments across the northwest to determine whether the health unit has been operated efficiently, will be revealed to its board and management Wednesday.
“I haven’t got a clue what they’re going to be saying,” said Dr. Pete Sarsfield, the health unit’s medical officer and chief executive officer.
“I’d hope to see some general and specific recommendations regarding changes we could make to improve management and board changes,” he added.
“I’d love to see a tool that I could use to ever so gently find some money from the federal government, provincial government, anybody,” he added.
The municipalities asked for the operational review last year in response to the health unit’s demand for more money per capita—and its move to spend money from reserve funds on mandatory programs.
The results of the review will be presented to several municipal councils over the next few weeks.
“If the aim of the municipalities is to see programs offered that will improve health care for the patients, then they will be pleased with it,” said Dr. Sarsfield.
The review was done by The Blackwell Group of Calgary, which recently completed a similar review of Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora and is familiar with the public health sector.
The company also has hired a local consultant, John Ross of Kenora, to take part in the review.
Dr. Sarsfield said the review is expected to fairly weigh the needs of the health unit for programs against the cost of implementation.
“These two know what they are about, they spent a lot of time, they went to all our offices—that’s 11 offices and a lot of miles,” he noted.
“I think I’m going to find this humbling and useful,” he added.