SMH brings expansion plans to council, focus now on new
Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) has abandoned plans to pursue a
replacement facility, a plan rejected by the Ministry of Health, and is
now focused instead on a two-storey addition to accommodate a
modernized emergency department and its ancillary units - operating,
digital imaging, and laboratory services.
Scott Anderson, past chair of the SMH Board, and chair of the Future
Health Care Centre Committee (FHCCC) a sub-committee whose mandate is
to develop the revised submission that hopes to not only score Ministry
approval, but the approximate 90 per cent funding that would accompany
it, outlined the concept to New Tecumseth councillors last night as
part of the broader community outreach to solicit support for the
Mr. Anderson explained the new hospital building plan was abandoned
because the Ministry "view was there was not going to be any entirely
approved in the current term for smaller community hospitals."
dialogue they recommended that we should continue to investigate other
alternatives, and in that regard they invited us to consider
resubmitting, and our committee has been set up to look at what would
we want to consider," he said. "And what we're focused on is attaching
addition to the hospital, rather than a whole new hospital, that would
allow us to provide new space for those important services but operate
the rest of the hospital for other services and possibly bring some new
services into the hospital."
He noted the submission is being built on a pillar of "four strong
points of view."
At the top are the physical limitations of the 50-year-old SMH building
on Fletcher Cres, which was built to accommodate a population catchment
of approximately 7,000 people.
"Currently we're approaching 30,000 visits a
year," said Mr. Anderson. "We've been able to do a little bit of
renovation and expansion
within the hospital, but we certainly haven't been able to create the
kind of space we need. And that creates issues."
With age, comes the second point. "Our basic
infrastructure is obsolete, especially with respect to the operation
room and the emergency department. And these obsolences create issues
with standards in terms of building standards, fire codes, and
obviously with health care standards (patient privacy, disease control)
literally not much more that we can do with the existing space to keep
up with existing standards."
The third view is the fact that New Tecumseth has one of highest
concentrations of citiziens over the age of 55 not only in Simcoe
County, but in the province, "so we
also have a unique need in our population base for our emergency
services and operating room."
Lastly, the SMH catchment area has a population of about 55,000 people,
but growth plans already approved or in the planning approvals process
in the region, will boost that population to 90,000 people over the
next 20 years.
"That is simply a
population growth and a demographic that our facility can not keep up
with. It's not able to keep current today, we certainly can't keep
current with that kind of growth," said Mr. Anderson. "We basically
have to have new infrastructure for the
emergency and operating room. So we've been listening to the
government, and we've been focused on putting in a submission that will
win their approval this time, and focusing on urgent parts of our
hospital that are desparate for new infrastructure."
It's expected the new proposal will be submitted to the Ministry by
year's end, or in early 2013.