Ascentum community engagement project for South East LHIN a “resounding success”
Friday, October 21st, 2011

Earlier this year, Ascentum was hired by the South East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to engage community members across southeastern Ontario and gather public input on new health care plans for the region.

We worked closely with staff from the South East LHIN, as well as physicians and other clinical experts, to design a series of deliberative workbooks that local residents could complete online to have their say.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent press release that looked back on what we achieved.  According to the South East LHIN’s CEO, Paul Huras:

The fact that we heard from 867 participants who took the time to complete a total of 1775 detailed workbooks is a solid indication that this engagement worked very well,” said Huras. “Each of these participants took the time to learn, understand and comment on workplans that were detailed and complex. The process provided a great deal of quantitative and qualitative feedback that has helped our Clinical Leads and their teams to adjust and fine tune these plans,” he added.

We appreciated the opportunity to work with the LHIN and their partners on this project.  From our perspective, they were truly committed to gathering input from their communities and using it to help guide their decision-making.

In fact, you can read the full public report of what we heard during the engagement here.  And here’s a link to the full press release.


In support of LHINs

Recently, some people have questioned the value of LHINs.  These critics say that LHINs are too costly, or take money away from front line care.

From my perspective, the right question about what LHINs do should be framed differently.  Who best understands the health care needs of local communities across Ontario?  Local residents and health system planners, or those in a head office thousands of kilometers away?

We have done work for several LHINs, including Share Your Story, Shape Your Care for which the North West LHIN won the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)’s Innovation of the Year award for 2009.

We’ve always found LHIN staff to be dedicated, hard-working local residents driven by a desire to coordinate health services in a way that reflects local priorities, needs and values.  We think their work is important and hope they are able to continue building on the progress already made.

To end, a local MPP for the region once told me “When you get the public involved, you get way better results.  When you leave it up to a politician, it takes too much money; it takes too long; and they’ll probably get it wrong!”

– Ellis Westwood –

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  1. Tristan Eclarin says:

    Great to hear Ellis! As Belleville is my hometown, I’m proud that our firm was
    involved with this!

    A lot of the research I’ve done for my final MPA report
    suggests that regional health authorities in Canada have become increasingly open
    to public involvement over time, largely as a result of the devolution of certain
    decision-making responsibilities to more local level authorities. Seeing as how
    you led a similar project for the North West LHIN, I’d be interested to hear
    more about your experience working with organizations that are more regionally
    focused in their work. For example, how do you think this context impacts public
    involvement planning?