March 27, 2006 17:15 ET

Divestment of Whitby Mental Health Centre Completed

WHITBY, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 27, 2006) - Management of the Whitby Mental Health Centre, first established in 1919, is now the responsibility of a community-based Board of Directors chaired by Brian Hart, a resident of Port Hope and former Chair of the Board of the Northumberland Healthcare Corporation.

Since it was first established, the Centre has been operated by the Government of Ontario, most recently under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Divestment of all mental health facilities was recommended to the Government in 1997 by the Health Services Restructuring Commission. Whitby is the second last facility to be divested and is the first to be established as a "stand-alone" public hospital instead of being integrated into an existing acute care hospital.

The Centre's President and Chief Executive Officer is Glenna Raymond, who has worked with the Board since December 2005 to arrange the transfer of the Centre to its community-based governance. Ms Raymond worked at the Centre as a nurse educator in 1978-1980. She is a Certified Health Executive with more than 20 years of health care management experience, including as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Scarborough Hospital.

Both Mr. Hart and Ms. Raymond, along with directors, welcomed employees as they arrived for work at the Centre today. Visitors included Mayor Marcel Brunelle and Councillor Shirley Scott of Whitby. This special occasion marked the formal transfer from the Government of Ontario to the public hospital system. (Picture available)

"Nothing has really changed when it comes to day-to-day operations," said Mr. Hart and Ms. Raymond. "We expect that the transfer of management will be seamless for patients and their families, the 1000 employees who work at the Center, and the social agencies and health care organizations and community groups who come in contact each day with the Whitby Mental Health Centre."

Both indicated, that the Centre's leadership team, which includes directors and senior managers, will be talking with stakeholders over the next few weeks to consider how mental health care is delivered by the Center and how it can be effectively organized to meet changing community needs. Public meetings are planned, although the schedule has not been finalized. The Board anticipates a business plan to be ready by the fall after public comment and discussion.

With an annual budget of approximately $88 million, the Centre delivers mental health services for a population of 2.5 million residents in an area extending from the northeast and east of the City of Toronto (formerly East York, Scarborough and North York east of Yonge Street), to the York and Durham Regions and to the City of Kawartha Lakes (formerly Victoria County).

The Centre provides a range of specialized mental health programs for inpatients and outpatients. The Centre offers residential community treatment programs at two, 10-bed residences in Stouffville and Oshawa. It operates community based service sites in: Newmarket, Georgina, Maple, Uxbridge, Port Perry, Bowmanville, Lindsay and Whitby. Additionally the Centre supports residents in privately operated Homes for Special Care.

The Centre's 483,000 square foot complex was opened in 1996 and has been the only mental health facility built in Canada in 30 years. Its award-winning design reflects a residential style building concept and a philosophy of providing mental health services in a humane and safe environment, therapeutic for recovery.

For further information and to obtain available photo, please see the end of this release.


Brian Hart is a resident of the Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Peterborough region. Brian is a professional engineer with thirty years of diversified working experience with management and strategic leadership skills attained while working in a variety of positions in both the public and private sectors. Brian was a board member and Chair of the Board of the Northumberland Healthcare Corporation. More recently, Brian has been involved as the Vice Chair and Chair of Strategic Planning of the Joint Executive Committee - HKPR Hospitals.

Glenna Raymond is a Certified Health Executive with more than 20 years experience as a leader, administrator, clinician and instructor in public healthcare. Her career history includes serving as president and CEO of The Scarborough Hospital (its pre-amalgamation predecessor Scarborough General Hospital and Scarborough Grace Hospital.) Other senior positions she has occupied in Scarborough include the vice-presidencies of patient services and human resources and director of nursing practices, medicine and psychiatry. She has also been an instructor and Board Chair at Centennial College, and a consultant to hospitals in both the U.S. and China. She led the Scarborough Hospital through the SARS crisis and offered later system-wide leadership in the SARS Alliance that led to the hospital receiving the community's Award of Excellence. At an early stage in her career, she worked at Whitby Psychiatric Hospital and Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

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