The only northern director on Ontario Health, Jay Aspin says the organization has entered into a transitional year that will see a major revamp of how health care is delivered in the province.
This week the government took the first step by creating five regions and five existing CEO's will serve a one-year term. Kate Fyfe, Acting Chief Executive Officer heads the North East LHIN but is not one of those five appointees.
The permanent CEO's will be named after the transition period on Dec. 2, 2020.
Aspin told BayToday the outcome will be to provide world-class health care.
"Our biggest challenge is a growing population that's getting older and we have finite resources so we want to make sure we're very thoughtful in our approach. We're making sure that we meet the needs of Ontarians because health care is chewing up more and more of the budget so we have to make sure it's run optimally which is a challenge."
Aspin says the goal will be achieved by organization and innovation and as a director, he's satisfied with the progress made so far on a portfolio that represents 40 per cent of the provincial budget.
"If we don't do this it will continue to be 50 and 60 per cent of the budget and there will be little room for anything else. So we have to make sure we innovate, reorganize and get the best bang for our buck, all the while providing first-class health services so that we keep universality and get the best health care possible.
"That's a mammoth challenge and it has to be done carefully so that nothing falls through the cracks because we're talking health here, which can be a serious consideration. There's no doubt it's a mammoth challenge and we're inching forward in a methodical, well thought out process.
Aspin expects $350 million in savings in the first year, which will be reallocated to front line services.
"We've had to ensure that no front line jobs are being eliminated."
Of the.12 directors on the Ontario Health board, Aspin is the only one not living in the GTA. He was appointed nine months ago.