Transformation Talk: an update from Keith on Transformational Change

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Transformation Talk: an update from Keith on Transformational Change


The Ministry of Health’s announcement to move to one single Provincial Health Authority has generated lots of discussion in RQHR. From the good to the bad, this kind of talk is pretty normal and can be helpful. That is, until it distracts us from what we’re really here to do: provide the safest, highest quality care we can to the people of this province. Our region is kind of like a small town: when one person says something, it quickly spreads to the rest of the organization. During times of significant change like this, it’s our responsibility to keep the discussion a positive one, and focus on all the opportunities that will come from this transformation.

That’s what I hope to do in ‘Transformation Talk.’  You’ll hear from me in this space on matters related to the transformation, including sharing my personal experiences and answering your questions.  I’ll also be sharing examples of the region’s ongoing success.  Reminding ourselves of our purpose and, in particular, where we have made progress in improving the quality and safety of our care, will help us all stay focused on those we serve. 

The transformation change is being led by the Ministry of Health, so my updates will add to the communication that we will be receiving from the provincial project team.  The first update is attached and has information about the various work streams and those leading them as well as an overview of how the province will move forward on the Advisory Panel recommendation on the provision of IT services.  You will note that Robbie Peters, our Chief Financial Officer, is one of three individuals identified to date to join the provincial transition team. These are not the only people who will be involved in the process. They are forming the core of the Transition Team. There is a commitment to ensure that many individuals from across the system, in addition to the members of the core team, will be involved in the consultation and implementation process.  This will include the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the unions that represent our collective workforce.

Robbie has been ask to lead the provincial work on Budget and Administration, and Risk and Corporate Governance.  This is a testament to the leadership he has provided to us at RQHR and at the many provincial discussions he is part of. I should note that Robbie has not left RQHR; however, the bulk of his time over the following months will be focused on leading this work. His work at RQHR will be covered by Darlene Rorbeck and Andre Kroeger. Darlene will cover the financial services responsibilities of his portfolio (finance, payroll and materials management) and Andre will cover the facilities management, including security and parking services, responsibilities.  They will join our Senior Leadership Team while he is working with the Transition Team.

You will also see information relating to the delivery of IT services.  We were made aware of this decision late last week.  Carol Klassen, the VP for this area, met with the leaders and staff in this area soon after we had received the announcement.  She wanted to discuss the implications with them and the many important projects they are working on that are focused on improving the quality and safety of our services before this information was shared more broadly within RQHR.  This work will result in the development of a management structure that reflects a single provincial IT service to better co-ordinate and support the delivery of IT services across the health system.  The employment relationships of the various staff involved are not changing as a result of this announcement.  I fully expect that the regions will be engaged to help shape the direction of how a provincial IT service is organized and delivered.  We know that IT is a key factor enabling our clinicians to deliver quality, safe care and to the effective movement of our patients through our health system. 

I know that not all of our 11,000 staff and physicians have access to email, so please, make a point of sharing these updates with your colleagues.  There are a lot of unknowns at this time and, given the significance of the recommendations, there will continue to be unknowns.  Transformation of this magnitude takes time. When you are committed to change of this magnitude, as well as to consultation with those who are impacted by the recommendations, there will be periods when some questions cannot be answered. These periods of time occur to allow for consultation with those who are impacted by the recommendations. It is for this reason that an ongoing, open dialogue about the transformation process will keep us informed, provide opportunities to provide input and reduce our collective anxiety. 

As noted earlier, these updates may also contain examples that highlight the region’s ongoing success. A great example is the recent opening of unit 4B at Pasqua Hospital, a new medicine unit. Departments from Facilities and IT through our Medicine Service Line and Long Term Care were all engaged in this work, on very tight timelines, and they came through in a significant way. This unit allows patients to receive the right care in the right place, and that’s the real win. And while the total number of available medicine beds did not increase significantly at the time they were opened, the leaders in the Medicine Service Line are working hard to get the staffing in place so that we can open additional beds.

Please send your questions and feedback to and watch for updates on transformation in the weeks to come. 

Keith Dewar
President and Chief Executive Officer
Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region