News from the Chair

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016

By: Dr. Steve Gilberg

Summer is almost upon us once again. Our new Prime Minister speaks of “sunny skies” ahead and we all hope he is right but challenges continue today that have us all working hard to continue to deliver care that we would expect for our loved ones. In early May the TOH financial officer commented that the Ministry of Health has recognized some of the chronic financial shortfalls of our hospital and partial remediation in on its way for fiscal year 2016-17. None of these financial increments can keep pace with the demographic changes that lie ahead but it is a ray of sun- shine that hopefully will reduce the pressure we all feel in our day to day activities.

I had the opportunity to co- chair the Champlain Vision Care Network Committee and over a nine month period this committee reviewed the cur- rent state of vision care delivery in our LHIN and made recommendations to the LHIN and the MOHLTC for future improvement. The 143 page document “Champlain LHIN Plan Vision Plan April 2016” can be found at There are 13 major recommendations involving multiple stakeholders in vision care. Foremost is the recommendation that pediatric care requires significant changes in resources to meet our Provincial targets. In adult ophthalmology a re- examination of LHIN demo- graphic data and our historical rates of cataract surgery indicate our LHIN may have been under allocated by 15% historically and we have requested that cataract allocations be adjusted to reflect the reality of our patient population. Many thanks to the members of the Committee, including co-chair, Jeanette Despatie CEO of Cornwall Community Hospital and members from TOH including Dr. Bernard Hurley, Dr. Annick Fournier, Dr. Steve Poleski, and Dr. Walter Delpero. Dr. Thomas Noel provided valuable insight to the role of optometry in delivering eye care to our patients. Lastly, but certainly not least was the hard work and dedication of Rosemary Bickerton who was the project manager and helped to bring everything together into a detailed and comprehensive document. If you have an opportunity to read the document I would be receptive to any comments or suggestions as this is intended to be a living document. The document has been recently approved by the Champlain LHIN Board and will undergo review by members of the Ontario Vision Strategy Task Force and the MOHLTC. Hopefully by the fall we will have a response from the MOHLTC on whether they wish to proceed with our list of recommendations. Fiscal challenges at Queen’s Park may blunt their enthusiasm for supporting our recommendations but they will be faced with evidence based conclusions that will be difficult to ignore. Stay tuned.

Dr. Brian Leonard was greeted by a phalanx of well-wishers outside the doors of the main operating rooms on his last day of surgery in January of this year. Brian misses the camaraderie of the OR but stepped out at the top of his game and we all wish him well in his career going forward. Dr. Rustum Karanjia joined us this spring after spending two years in sunny California completing a two year fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology. Dr. Karanjia has been awarded a Junior Clinical Research Chair by the Faculty of Medicine and will continue his clinical and basic science research in Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. We have also had the pleasure of working with Dr. Michel Belliveau who joined us in the fall of 2015 as an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Michel completed a two year fellowship in oculoplastic surgery in Toronto and has been a welcome addition to our staff.

Two basic scientists recruits are actively being sought with one Dr. Pierre Mattar recently accepting an appointment with the Faculty of Medicine (Cellular and Molecular Medicine) and a cross appointment to the Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Mattar who comes to us from Montreal is a PhD scientist interested in retinal development and we are expected to welcome him in June of 2017.

Drs. Paul Bastianelli, Manny Bal and Behrooz Azizi have recently completed the written component of the Royal College Examinations and the oral examinations. By the time you read this they would have successfully completed their FRCSC examinations in ophthalmology and we wish all of them the best in their future careers.

Speaking of best, Ginette Snook, our residency program coordinator was recognized by the Roy- al College for her outstanding contributions to not only our residency program but to her leadership with other program coordinators across Canada. A well-deserved accolade for her dedication to education throughout the years. Well done.

Enjoy the long sunny days ahead and recharge your batteries, solar or otherwise.

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