The delivery of innovative, high quality, cost effective health care services to the fastest growing municipality in Canada is a task that requires visionary leadership and sound program development. In 2000, the Health and Social Services Committee (now the Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee) embraced program and service delivery innovations with outstanding results.
A new mission statement and vision for Health Services was created in 2000 to reflect the union of three strategic business units - Emergency Medical Services, Long Term Care and Seniors, and Public Health - into one Department. The three branches provide a wide range of programs and services that span the life cycle of York Region residents.
INAUGURAL YEAR OF SERVICE
On January 1, 2000 York Region Emergency Medical Services (EMS) assumed operational responsibility for land ambulance service in York Region, providing emergency medical and related transportation services to all residents, as well as cross boundary services with adjacent municipalities.
During the first full year of EMS operation, 203 Paramedics responded to approximately 60,000 requests for service, with 16 emergency vehicles operating 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Planning for future service excellence, the Committee studied the strategic positioning of the inherited EMS station locations and their effect on response times, as well as a proposal for the direct operation of an EMS Communication Centre. Options for deployment of resources and station relocation will continue to be examined in 2001.
The Long Term Care and Seniors Branch made significant advances in the successful delivery of services to adults who are unable to live independently, achieving a 96% client satisfaction rating. To better serve clients, final funding approvals were secured for a major redevelopment of the Newmarket Health Centre long term care facility and for the creation of Community Alzheimer's Resource Centres in Georgina and Vaughan. Additional capital funding was also confirmed for the conversion/creation of up to 26 barrier-free, accessible housing units at the Newmarket Health Centre.
Program expansions included the provision of monthly hearing clinics at both the Newmarket and Maple Health Centres, in partnership with the Canadian Hearing Society, and an increase in on-site physiotherapy services for residents. Approval was also given to expand the Alzheimer's Day Program at the Maple Health Centre, and an Advanced Certificate in Cognitive and Psychiatric Care was completed by 80% of all staff working with clients experiencing cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders.
In 2000, York Region residents greatly benefitted from strong Public Health program and service delivery. Achievements varied from the opening of a fully operational dental hygiene clinic in Markham, to the implementation of a playground inspection program, to contact with 94% of new mothers through the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program.
Health protection was the focus of over 10,000 food premises inspections and the training of over 1,100 food handlers. Additionally, the reintroduction of the school suspension program for York Region's 72,727 students successfully increased immunization coverage from 71.4% to 94.5%. With the passing of the York Region No-Smoking By-law in October, the Region has taken great strides forward in the protection of residents from the dangers of second-hand smoke.