The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) recently restructured its executive staff and created new roles, including president positions at both Victoria Hospital and at University Hospital. London Morning‘s Rebecca Zandbergen talked to LHSC CEO Jackie Schleifer Taylor to find out more.
Q: How many new administrators have been hired? How many new roles are there?
A: Well, actually, Rebecca, it’s not a matter of new roles. It’s actually that LHSC has undergone a restructuring of the entire organization. We did this for two reasons. One was that we’re still in a pandemic, and it’s been two and a half years of really good learning about how to serve as many patients as possible, especially now when there’s such a need for care.
At the same time, the reality is that the health system is undergoing transformation and because of who we are — research-intensive, acute, tertiary, quaternary, teaching hospital — we have a really special place in the health system, particularly in southwestern Ontario. We have to be part of that health system transformation and take the learnings from the pandemic into the future. The restructuring of the entire LHSC is what led to the leadership restructuring that started at the executive level.
Q: The restructuring is internal, but I think people would like to know about the salaries. Has the overall executive salary number gone up, and by how much?
A: The restructuring isn’t about internally working better for me or the organization. The restructuring is about how we can better serve our community locally, regionally and provincially. I don’t know if Londoners are fully aware of just the gem that LHSC is in our size and position in the health system. We have 15,000 people that comprise our organization, which has us placed second in Canada in terms of Hospital corporation size, per people. Our restructuring was a look at this community of 15,000 internally and how we needed to be better structured right from the top, right to the bedside to support care delivery, our primary mandate, and London is growing. London is not a static community, and we just really needed to pause and take the challenges of the pandemic that are still with us and look to the future that we have to deliver for this community and think about that restructuring need.
Q: I’m just going to ask the question again. Do you have a number of the salaries that were paid out before versus now, and if it’s gone up?
A: The salary and structure is comparable to our peer group, which is a subset of all of the hospitals in the province, approximately 14 like us that serve our special mandate. Forty-three per cent of our services are bubble wrapped in that they are here for Londoners, they’re here for Middlesex-London, the region and the province. Our peer group is what we looked at, those 14 hospitals, to think about the size and structure, and there is comparability to that.
Q: But can you give me the number from before LHSC and now?
A: In terms of…
Q: In terms of the salaries that are paid out to executives?
A: I don’t have that number off the top of my head.
Q: Do you know if it’s gone up?
A: I know that it is comparable to our peers.
Q: But you don’t know if it’s gone up?
A: I don’t have that exact information off the top of my head, no.
Q: We hear all the time about a nursing shortage, and the folks on the floor are the ones that they’d like to see more of. Where are we with staffing shortages?
A: Oh my goodness. Staffing is a challenge across the health system, but we have never removed our efforts, aggressive efforts, to onboard new staff and in point of fact, in the past 12 months, from September 2021 to this month, we’ve onboarded 2,408, I think new team LHSC members and that’s because we have taken every opportunity to partner with Government, Ontario Health, the Ministry of Health are our local providers and really thoughtfully and carefully and aggressively pursued the hiring of all levels of staff provider roles. We can’t underestimate how much effort and the positive outcomes that have come from that, because that’s vital to service delivery. It’s vital to what we need to be focused on right now.
Q: For folks who are waiting in long queues at the ER or waiting for a bed and may feel as though they’re not being served, and I know this is a struggle for everyone, so it’s certainly not an attack on LHSC, but what do you say to them?
A: I say that we are doing everything we can to make sure that care is accessed as quickly as possible. I could also take this moment to say that there isn’t anyone who isn’t thinking about that every single day, basically, the patients waiting to come in. I’m sorry I get a little choked up about this because, it’s distressing for the patients, it’s distressing for the staff who really desperately want to provide care in a timely manner and that delay, which is impacted from the pandemic and only been exacerbated as time has gone on, is something we think about every day and address in multiple ways inclusive of hiring staff, virtual care, different delivery models for care, etcetera.
Q: It sounds as though you’re hoping this restructuring will somehow trickle down and support a system where it improves. Do I have that right?
A: 100 per cent about this restructuring was supporting those at the interface of care. 100 per cent of this effort is about seeing more patients in a timely manner.
The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.