As of June 22, 2022, the provincial government has invested $5 million to support the joint proposal between Grand River Hospital (GRH) and St. Mary’s General Hospital.
The goal of their partnership is to design a community-powered healthcare system that benefits everyone in the region. From building to planning, it could take 10 to 12 years, with the first step of proposal submission being completed. After the provincial government passed their support for the project, the two hospitals launched their next phase of this project called “Building the Future of Care Together.”
The plan to build a stronger healthcare system also means ensuring the community iis engaged and informed throughout the project’s completion.
After submitting a joint proposal to the provincial government with the consultations of staff in mind, the proposal was supported by both hospital boards and the St. Jospeh’s Health System board.
This proposal would see new facets added to the Waterloo Region, one of which includes a state-of-the-art hospital built in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Residents will also be seeing the repurposing of the existing GRH campus as an ambulatory and urgent care center, as well as renewing the Freeport Campus for a modernized and expanded rehabilitation facility.
Ambulatory care refers to an urgent care centre that will be at the current GRH site. This location will be dedicated to scheduled visits, day surgery, diagnostic imaging and tests.
Gagnon and his team are excited to have this modernized system in place in the region. Gagnon has worked in his position since November 2018 and was the CEO of a hospital located in Sault Ste. Marie.
Both administration teams have been working on this project for many years now.
St. Mary’s nearly century-old campus will retire, while GRH’s two sites will be renovated and repurposed.
“[We want to start] building the future of care together. It’s not only the partnership we have with Grand River, but it’s also about our health care service delivery within the community at large,” Sherri Ferguson, interim president of St. Mary’s General Hospital, said.
“And we’re doing a phased in approach with our colleague Cambridge Memorial Hospital, as well as our Ontario Health team partners within the community at large, within the region and with other municipal partners and as well as our community.”
Leading up to her current role, Ferguson worked in the healthcare field for 30 years and has multiple senior leadership team roles under her belt.
When the $5 million provincial investment was granted, concrete planning for the project began. There is no estimate for the total cost of these new facilities yet.
Both hospital leaders stated that there needs to be strong support from their community throughout the project, as community members are the main stakeholders. This project is meant to serve the future of hospital-based needs in WR. After the provincial government passed their support for the project, the two hospitals launched their next phase of this projected called “Building the Future of Care Together.” Although the timeline of this projects spans over the next few years, Ferguson is looking forward to adding new health services along the way.
“An enhancement of our eye care surgical services for retinal surgery is certainly one of our goals to accomplish sooner than later. Also bringing neurosurgery into our community. Those are two good examples that I hope we’ll see within our community well before the building, if you will, of the of the new facilities or the redevelopment of the existing facilities,” Ferguson said.
Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital want to bring world-class care into the Waterloo region. This new project is meant to bring services to the region where patients now have to travel to other cities to get.
As the current Kitchener campuses stand, there is little room to grow. St. Mary’s in particular is currently hemmed in by two roadways.
“We’ve got a rapidly growing community. The community is going to grow by about 45 per cent over the next 20 years, and people over the age of 75 will grow by almost 170 per cent. Well, the reason that’s important is that it’s the age group that needs a higher amount of health care services,” Gagnon said.
With this redevelopment project alongside the $1 million provincial investment, the Waterloo Region looks forward to a brighter, more equitable future of healthcare.