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Looking at the big picture

New Lakeridge CEO hopes to align priorities and bring investment to Durham Region's healthcare

Matthew Anderson has officially taken over the helm at Lakeridge Health. A veteran in the healthcare field, Anderson says he will be seeking more investment for the healthcare network.

Matthew Anderson has officially taken over the helm at Lakeridge Health. A veteran in the healthcare field, Anderson says he will be seeking more investment for the healthcare network.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

In healthcare, not being able to see the big picture can lead to big problems.

For the newest president and CEO of Lakeridge Health Matthew Anderson, he’s hoping his experience from all sides of the healthcare spectrum will help get the government’s attention and bring further investment to Durham Region.

Replacing previous CEO Kevin Empey, who finished his term on the job in April, Anderson has been in the healthcare field for the majority of his career.

At the age of 28, he became the chief information officer for the University Health Network, and also served as the president of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) before, most recently, holding a post as the CEO of the William Olser Health System, responsible for a trio of hospitals in Etobicoke, Brampton and Peel.

Being on both sides of the spectrum, Anderson says a healthy working relationship between the government and the hospitals is a crucial part of success.

“I think having a great working relationship with the ministry is hugely important,” he says, noting that a lot of the big plans and vision may become muddled on their way down to the local level.

“One of the things that I saw when I worked at the LHIN was, first off, there’s a lot of really smart people in government,” he says. “The issue is that, they’ve got the things that they need to do, so sometimes, it’s hard to see where they need to go and what they’re trying to do.”

That issue of aligning priorities is something Anderson hopes to focus on in his new post at Lakeridge, as well ensure the government sees a healthy return on investment with any dollars spent in Durham.

“Part of what we need to do is demonstrate to the ministry that this is a good place to invest…and when you invest in Durham, it’s going to result in really positive outcomes for the people of Durham.”

First, Anderson says he must learn the ropes of the inner workings of Oshawa’s healthcare system, while at the same time staying out of the way and making sure things continue to run smoothly. In the longer term, the focus will turn to a regional health system and currently, the ongoing plans to merge Lakeridge with the Ajax-Pickering hospital.

Anderson also says he’s big on the “lived experience” way of learning and enjoys getting out into the community to talk with people and learn what their priorities are to help gain a wider perspective.

“What those challenges look like up in Scugog are probably going to look vey different from what’s in Pickering and probably in Bowmanville,” he says.

However, with that going on, Anderson says the hospital must be focused on preparing for the future and healthcare issues looming on the horizon. He says he’s excited for the challenge.

“It’s really hard to pull off, to grow and integrate at the same time, it’s actually quite a challenging agenda, but I think it’s going to be fun,” he says. “I think Lakeridge as a corporation looks great, very well managed. I think we’ve got lots of wonderful things that we’re going to be able to build on there.”

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