Grand River Hospital (GRH), St. Mary’s Hospital and the Ministry of Health that Waterloo Region is in need of a new hospital.
“We’ve been discussing [the need for a new hospital] as far back as 2015 and it’s just become more pressing,” Peter Potts, the joint chief of staff for St. Mary’s and Grand River Hospital, said.
“The hospitals, as they exist now, are simply not large enough, not modern enough and really don’t have enough space to accommodate all the growth and diversity of programs we need to provide,” Potts said.
One of the main reasons for the region needing a new hospital is the consistent growth in population.
It is estimated that over the last 15 years, the population has grown 1.41 per cent per year. The two hospitals, especially with their size restrictions, are unable to accommodate the region’s projected population growth.
The region’s population is growing, but it is also aging—and these aging citizens will have increasing and differing needs in the coming years.
Another issue is the age of the Region’s current hospitals. St. Mary’s Hospital was opened in 1924 and some parts of GRH are 60 to 70 years old.
“Modern hospitals are some of the most sophisticated buildings that are conceived and yet we’re working at facilities that in some parts are a century old,” Potts said.
The size and outdatedness of these facilities has limited the hospitals’ ability to offer new programs and services to the region. Though many areas of care in the hospitals, such as cardiovascular, ophthalmology and oncology could all use additions to their diagnostic and treatment capabilities, the current size and infrastructure of the hospitals are unable to allow this expansion.
Even if the current hospitals were to get renovations or expansions, it would not be a simple process. As both GRH and St. Mary’s Hospital are landlocked, they would be difficult to renovate.
“No matter how much [we] renovate [the hospital], the problems are in spades…it’s very expensive to constantly reconfigure these hospitals for new procedures and new modalities of treatment” Potts said.
It is estimated that it will be 10 years before the new hospital is functional and many decisions will need to be made between then and now.
To ensure that the new hospital will accommodate the needs of the community, St. Mary’s and Grand River are currently conducting a survey to gather community feedback on the location of the new hospital.