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By Wendy Gabrek
On Monday, February 12, Stevenson Memorial Hospital and Collingwood General and Marine Hospital received approval for Planning Grants from the province totalling $1 million.
These planning grants provides resources for hospitals to work with their Local Health Integration Network and the province to ensure a project is of appropriate scope and scale. Planning grants provide funding for early planning stages only, but does not mean approval to build.
In Alliston, the funds will be used to support planning for the proposed redevelopment and expansion of Stevenson Memorial Hospital, and Collingwood General and Marine Hospital will use the funds to build a new facility all together.
“Today's announcement is a big step forward for our hospital and our community. I want to thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for recognizing our hospital's need for redevelopment and providing essential funding to help us bring a renewed vision and revitalized hospital to our community. Today's announcement clearly shows the government's commitment to meeting the future needs of our growing community,” said Jody Levac, President and CEO, Stevenson Memorial Hospital.
Stevenson Memorial Hospital's proposal includes building an addition to the current facility, along with related sitework, to replace and modernize infrastructure for various programs including:
Collingwood General and Marine Hospital proposes redeveloping the entire facility to meet the health service needs for residents in the area.
“Building and expanding hospitals is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change,” said Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth at during the announcement in Alliston. “The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
“Our government supports Stevenson Memorial and Collingwood General and Marine hospitals in their planning work to modernize health care for families in Simcoe County. Ontario's investment in planning to expand and redevelop these hospital facilities will ensure greater access to care in these local communities,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
“As communities in Simcoe County continue to grow rapidly, it is vital that hospitals are given the tools they need to plan for the future. I am thrilled that these grants will help local hospitals help more patients and expand their services.”
Added Kim Baker, CEO of the Central LHIN: “Community hospitals are an absolute linchpin in the local health care system. In the Central LHIN, Stevenson Memorial is integral to health care delivery in the South Simcoe area – bringing new lives into the world and making heroic efforts in emergency, diagnostic, intensive, complex and rehabilitative care every single day. In our mandate as system planners, funders and care coordinators, the Central LHIN is pleased to work with the Government and Stevenson Memorial to advance service delivery excellence at the local level.”
Ontario is providing funding for over 2,000 additional beds and spaces across the province in 2017–18 to provide access to care and reduce wait times, whether in hospital, at home or in the community.
Local MPP Jim Wilson (Simcoe–Grey) says he is appreciative the provincial government has finally responded to his numerous requests to release planning grant funding for expansion projects in Collingwood and Alliston, but says there still is a lot of work to do.
“This is a good start and a positive step. The hospitals in Collingwood and Alliston each have spent more than $1.2 million of their own money on redevelopment planning,” said Wilson. “I appreciate the $500,000 for each hospital announced today, but would like to remind the government there is a long way to go through the five stages of planning, which will cost up to $12 million.”
Wilson has been calling for the government to release the planning grants for quite some time. His private members resolution on the matter passed unanimously through the Legislature in June 2017.
“This is a great first symbolic step, but there is a lot more that has to be done. I will continue to pressure this government to recognize the very real need for the redevelopment of both of these hospitals,” said Wilson.
“Today's announcement is a big step forward for our hospital and our community,” said Jody Levac, President and CEO of Stevenson Memorial Hospital. “I want to thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for recognizing our hospital's need for redevelopment and providing essential funding to help us bring a renewed vision and revitalized hospital to our community.”
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