Final Message to the Community and Reflections from RVH President and CEO Janice Skot
What is the one organization that touches every member of our community? At some point, we all rely on Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) to care for us or a loved one.
And it has been my immense privilege to, for the past 18 years, lead an organization that has such a profound impact on the community.
As I prepare to retire from the health centre at the end of June, I reflect on the outstanding care RVH provides and the remarkable people who deliver it.
Healthcare is a high-pressure, high-stakes sector and the past two years has been especially grueling. Yet, I have watched the bone-weary members of TEAM RVH rise to every challenge and, despite enormous sacrifice, continue to ensure people throughout our region are well-cared for. To say I am proud and inspired by RVH’s staff and physicians would be a huge understatement.
My mantra throughout 40 years in healthcare has always been “the patients entrusted to our care”. As CEO, I felt that enormous trust came with an obligation to always move the organization forward: to expand care, to make it safer, to make it more accessible, to enhance the technology our skilled teams use every day.
Whether it was doubling the size of the health centre ten years ago, adding new beds and a regional cancer centre; launching new regional programs, such as advanced cardiac and child and youth mental health; opening a Family Medicine Teaching Unit and a Centre for Education and Research; introducing high-tech equipment, like interventional radiology and, soon, a PET-CT scanner, Simcoe Muskoka residents have peace-of-mind knowing they can access lifesaving care closer to home.
Impacting the lives of our patients in very real and tangible ways has been exhilarating and rewarding. But what I am most proud of is RVH’s cultural transformation. We call our strategy “MY CARE” and it defined the expectation that all members of TEAM RVH will put patients first and embedded our values into the organization’s DNA.
Since introducing it, RVH has seen safety, patient experience and TEAM RVH engagement scores soar. Most importantly, our patients feel it when they walk into our beautiful facility, where we care for our patients – and each other – with respect and compassion.
During my time at RVH, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside exceptional staff, physicians and our beloved “Blue Brigade” of volunteers. I have partnered with many outstanding organizations determined to create a seamless system of care. I have worked closely with dedicated elected representatives committed to improving our community. I have developed meaningful relationships with business owners, service clubs and generous donors. I have sat with countless patients and families who have shared the most intimate, heart-wrenching moments of their lives.
It is with deep gratitude and humility that I thank you for the opportunity to serve this community as RVH’s President and CEO.
Royal Vic is an outstanding organization, well-positioned for the future; a future that will see the current North Campus double in size and a South Campus built in Innisfil. Be assured, I will be watching and cheering from the sidelines!
Who would have thought, more than two years later, we would still be grappling with the impacts of the pandemic? Yet RVH continues to be ‘all hands on deck’ to protect and care for our region.
The RVH Board of Directors is grateful for the skilled and dedicated way TEAM RVH continues to weather this storm – taking care of the community in the safe and compassionate way our patients expect and deserve.
The board has always been proud of TEAM RVH, but throughout the pandemic we have been even more inspired as we watch this team in action. For the past two years, governors unanimously agreed to present one Award of Excellence honouring all members of TEAM RVH, as singling out individuals for recognition would be impossible.
Our community should feel tremendous confidence and pride in TEAM RVH. We are all deeply appreciative and inspired by their service and sacrifice.
This will be my last message to the community as I hand the reigns over to First Vice Chair, Doug Frost. I also want to personally thank Janice Skot, retiring RVH President and CEO, for her 18 years of dedication to TEAM RVH, the patients entrusted to their care, and the people of this entire region. It is through her leadership and vision that RVH has transformed to the best hospital in which to work, practice, volunteer and, most importantly, receive care.
Thanks to Janice’s hard work and tenacity, RVH has developed a strong reputation for excellence at the regional and provincial level. Her legacy of leadership has built a strong foundation upon which future leaders can build. Thank you, Janice!
And once again, thank you TEAM RVH, for the care, compassion and commitment you have shown each other and your patients during this pandemic.
As we look at the year past, we also look ahead. Last year was one of both preparation and growth. Even through recent challenges, we continue to build on the remarkable successes of the past.
As many will know, RVH Foundation has committed to granting $100 million to RVH to build a world-class healthcare system across the region. This vision will see the existing site on Georgian Drive double in size, and the construction of a new site in Innisfil.
This can’t happen soon enough. The indignity of hallway medicine, along with expense and time away from family to travel far away for care, are unsustainable. As the region doubles in size in the coming decade, having the space and the breadth of care we all need is imperative.
Getting there will take support from every corner of our region. It will take a colossal effort. Over the past year, we’ve been preparing for that effort. We have been bringing together volunteers from across Simcoe Muskoka, who are passionately committed to the health of our region. Last year, we raised over $10 million, the most we’ve raised in a single year in our history. We finished the year with close to one third of our goal achieved.
This fall, we will bring the RVH story to communities across the region, inviting everyone to be a part of building a hospital of the future. And we can promise that this campaign will be like nothing we’ve seen in Simcoe Muskoka before.
We are deeply committed to it, for our community and for everyone we care about.
That is our promise to you and we’re grateful to have you by our side.
COVID may have kept our “Blue Brigade” away from RVH for the past two years and quashed our usual fundraising methods, but the Auxiliary has never wavered in its commitment to supporting patient care.
In the spring of 2020, the Auxiliary announced a $5-million pledge to the Moments Matter Campaign. Shortly after that announcement, COVID restrictions went into effect and the volunteers could no longer hold any planned fundraising events.
So, we had to get creative. In the fall of 2020, the Auxiliary launched a Community 50/50 Draw with jackpot draws and Early Bird prizes. To date, we have given out more than $1 million in prize money, which means we are close to presenting our first big cheque to RVH. For more information on this great fundraising initiative, please visit RVHauxiliary5050.com.
In addition, since 2014, we have run the TEAM RVH 50/50 draw that, as of August 2021, has also given out over $1 million in prize money to TEAM RVH.
With our own 125-year history, the Auxiliary is a cornerstone of the RVH legacy. We raised the money to build the first hospital in 1897, and we will continue, despite the challenges, to do our part to help ensure the future of this health centre is bright and limitless.