Hospi­tal re­de­vel­op­ment is now one step closer

Business as usual will not be good enough to meet the needs of this com­mu­nity

The Hamilton Spectator - - COMMENT - ROB MACISAAC Rob MacIsaac is Pres­i­dent and CEO of Hamil­ton Health Sciences

Our com­mu­nity re­ceived some very good news in the re­cent pro­vin­cial bud­get. The gov­ern­ment’s cap­i­tal spend­ing plan for hos­pi­tals over the next 10 years now in­cludes the ma­jor re­de­vel­op­ment of Hamil­ton Health Sciences.

We’ll be one of the hospi­tal sys­tems in On­tario to share in a newly-pledged $9 bil­lion for re­newal and re­build­ing, and our pro­posal is the largest of the bunch. Hamil­ton Health Sciences is rec­om­mend­ing changes that will trans­form the way we pro­vide care — and al­though there is still much plan­ning and discussion ahead, this early com­mit­ment by the gov­ern­ment is a tremen­dous vote of con­fi­dence in the direc­tion we’re pur­su­ing.

Two years ago, Hamil­ton Health Sciences be­gan de­vel­op­ing a 20-year vi­sion for the fu­ture of our or­ga­ni­za­tion. Late in 2016, with the in­put of pa­tients and fam­i­lies, ser­vice part­ners, our staff and physi­cians, as well as the pub­lic at large, we made a se­ries of bold rec­om­men­da­tions to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

This in­cludes re­de­vel­op­ing ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties and de­sign­ing new ones to im­prove our reach in the com­mu­ni­ties we serve. We are also think­ing long-term about the grow­ing sig­nif­i­cance of our many spe­cialty pro­grams, in terms of lo­cal eco­nomic stim­u­lus, pro­vin­cial health care plan­ning and global re­search im­pact.

Hamil­ton Health Sciences’ spe­cialty pro­grams are among the high­est qual­ity, and high­est vol­ume in On­tario. Peo­ple travel provincewide to Hamil­ton to re­ceive the care we pro­vide for cancer, pe­di­atrics, neu­ro­surgery, rehabilitation, burns, stroke, trauma, car­di­ol­ogy and vas­cu­lar.

We fore­see a need to clus­ter these pro­grams at our Hamil­ton Gen­eral and Ju­ravin­ski cam­puses, in or­der to main­tain the best pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence and to en­sure fast ac­cess to emerg­ing, high-cost med­i­cal tech­nolo­gies. We pro­pose to build a new Chil­dren’s and Women’s Hospi­tal at the Gen­eral cam­pus and to re­lo­cate pro­grams at St. Peter’s Hospi­tal to new, cus­tom-built space at the Ju­ravin­ski cam­pus. The West Lin­coln Memorial Hospi­tal in Grimsby would also be re­built on its ex­ist­ing site, with a focus com­mu­nity medicine and day surgery.

These changes would cre­ate a new plat­form for our hospi­tal care, de­signed for the next gen­er­a­tion of pa­tients and fam­i­lies, health care needs and med­i­cal tech­nolo­gies.

This plan does mean ma­jor change — pos­i­tive change that will al­low us to in­crease the num­ber of beds we have and the num­ber of peo­ple we can serve. We know we’re go­ing to need 50 per cent more hospi­tal space than we oc­cupy to­day be­cause of pop­u­la­tion growth and the need to en­hance pri­vacy, ac­ces­si­bil­ity and in­fec­tion con­trol stan­dards. This in­vest­ment will be sig­nif­i­cant and that’s why we’re so grate­ful to know that Hamil­ton Health Sciences is in the Gov­ern­ment of On­tario’s queue for cap­i­tal fund­ing to sup­port our re­de­vel­op­ment.

How­ever, ro­bust hospi­tal ser­vices are only part of our vi­sion. Hamil­ton Health Sciences is also work­ing hard with com­mu­nity part­ners to de­sign ways to pre­vent peo­ple from need­ing hospi­tal care in the first place.

To­day, many of our pa­tients come to the hospi­tal for care not be­cause of med­i­cal is­sues, but as a re­sult of so­cial cir­cum­stances. If you don’t have a roof over your head, nu­tri­tious food to eat or a fam­ily mem­ber to catch you when you fall, you are very likely to be­come a fre­quent user of hospi­tal ser­vices. This is a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem in Hamil­ton’s ur­ban core, where hospi­tal us­age is the high­est of any city area in On­tario.

Hamil­ton’s unique health de­ter­mi­nants, com­bined with the im­pact across Canada of ag­ing and an ac­com­pa­ny­ing rise in the in­ci­dence of chronic dis­ease, means that business as usual will not be good enough to meet the needs of this com­mu­nity. Hamil­ton Health Sciences’ plan is a care­ful bal­ance be­tween reimag­ined fa­cil­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ty­based ser­vices that will cre­ate the best health ser­vices for the peo­ple we serve.

I am tremen­dously proud of our teams at Hamil­ton Health Sciences, and the care we pro­vide to peo­ple and fam­i­lies from our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and from across On­tario. Last week’s an­nounce­ment brings us one step closer to se­cur­ing that care for gen­er­a­tions to come.

HAMIL­TON HEALTH SCIENCES

Photo taken from the rooftop he­li­pad at Hamil­ton Gen­eral Hospi­tal, which will be the site of some of the re­de­vel­op­ment HHS CEO Rob MacIsaac refers to.

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