In a significant step towards a brighter, healthier future for northern Saskatchewan, the Victoria Hospital Foundation announced on Wednesday a new name and mission with its transformation into the Boreal Healthcare Foundation.
Foundation CEO Cody Barnett said the move is more than just a name change. The rebranding represents a renewed commitment to the communities outside Prince Albert that is serves.
“I’m very excited about this,” Barnett said. “I think it’s a really exciting new chapter for healthcare in northern Saskatchewan. With the amalgamation of our healthcare system into the one health authority, this kind of makes sense to follow that, (and) that we look at our facilities interconnected as well.”
Barnett said the Boreal Healthcare Foundation envisions a future where everyone, everywhere, has access to the healthcare they need. From the heart of northern health in Prince Albert to the most remote corners, Barnett said the goal is to deliver better care, close to home, for everyone.
Barnett said the name change and transformation came from work on strategic planning last fall. They were looking at the large catchment area and population that the foundation serves.
“I realized that we already do more than just the Victoria Hospital in terms of support for the healthcare system,” Barnett explained. “As a healthcare system for northern Saskatchewan, there was a lot of opportunity for the work that we do, especially as we’re growing our team in preparation for the new hospital here, to be able to support some other facilities that don’t have foundations. They’re smaller communities where it just isn’t viable for them to start their own.”
Barnett said the whole north is interconnected and the Victoria Hospital serves as the tertiary care centre for the north.
“We looked at that opportunity and said, ‘we kind of have a duty to help better the healthcare system as a whole as the lead foundation for most of northern Saskatchewan,” Barnett added.
“There are a lot of communities where they don’t have philanthropic support for their healthcare centres.”
The Victoria Hospital Foundation has already supported smaller groups, like the Herb Bassett Home and Pineview Terrace in Prince Albert. Barnett said it was a natural step to help smaller centres outside the city.
“The name really wasn’t reflective of our work,” Barnett said. “We’re looking at, ‘how do we solve the issues that our healthcare system faces in northern Saskatchewan.’ The rebrand is part of that evolution of we are here for the North.”
The name itself represents the north with the boreal forest in the name. The rebrand was headed by the creative agency Creative Fire, which is fully owned by English River First Nation.
“They worked with us on the brand development to capture what we were all feeling,” Barnett explained. “It’s great work, but it’s really important that we didn’t lose the 37 years of history and equity that the Victoria Hospital Foundation brand had too, so it was it was an interesting process for sure.”
Barnett said every donation to the Boreal Healthcare Foundation will directly serve the local community, enhancing the well-being of patients and their families in the region. The Foundation’s expansion gives every community the opportunity to build a future that speaks to its needs and the commitment is clear: your donations stay where they are needed most; close to home.
Barnett is energized about the name change, admitting that he has been close to the process for the past year.
“I think this is really exciting,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for every community to take ownership of their healthcare and we’re there to support them and provide all that we can as a foundation to those communities. I think this is really exciting.”
Barnett explained that that the purpose is to unite the north beginning with the completion of the new Victoria Hospital project. They expect a 40 per cent increase in beds in Prince Albert.
“That’s a lot of patients that won’t have to be transferred to other facilities, like in Saskatoon, Regina,” he said. “I think estimates are about 10,000 patient visits a year that won’t be put into the pressure that’s already existing in Saskatoon facilities, so that’s a substantial increase.”
This will also allow people to be closer to home in times of medical emergencies.
“For patients and families, it’s really good because they’re closer to home. Travel is expensive and being close to your support network is really important when you’re going through anything medical and health related,” Barnett said.
“The more we can keep people close to home and close to their support networks, the better.”
The SHA welcomed news of the Victoria Hospital Foundation name change.
“The Saskatchewan Health Authority is profoundly grateful for the initiative and commitment of Boreal Healthcare Foundation to provide philanthropic support of health care in Northern Saskatchewan communities,” Andrew Will, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority said in a release.
“We look forward to partnering with the Boreal Healthcare Foundation to enhance health services for the patients and families we serve in northern Saskatchewan.”
The Victoria Hospital Redevelopment and Expansion project, and the Foundation’s forthcoming
campaign, will greatly heighten care in northern Saskatchewan.
For more information about the Boreal Healthcare Foundation and its mission, visit www.borealhealthcare.ca.