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The New Hospital

Centre Grey Hospital Campaign - Quality Care Close to You

Nov. 15, 2016
GBHS Receives Approval to Plan Next Steps For Centre Grey Hospital

Grey Bruce Health Services today received approval from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on its Stage 2 Submission to rebuild the Centre Grey Hospital in Markdale.

"This is very good news for our Centre Grey communities and takes us one step closer to building a brand new hospital. Our next submission to the Ministry consists of the overall design for the new facility, and includes detailed engineering and architectural drawings. That Stage 3 document is well underway" said Lance Thurston, President and CEO of GBHS.

The new hospital will be approximately 68,000 square feet and includes four acute care beds, a palliative care room, 24/7 emergency room with five treatment areas, a procedures room, laboratory, diagnostic imaging services, physio, and space for ambulatory care clinics. Stage 4 involves the working drawings and final cost estimates, and once approved, the project goes to tender for construction.

:I know our communities and our donors have waited a long time for a new hospital, and we will continue working hard with the Ministry of Health and our LHIN to get the next Submission approved as soon as possible," said Thurston.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2018 and will take two years to complete. Updates will be posted on the GBHS website at www.gbhs.on.ca.

Media Contact:
Nicole Schmidt, Communications Coordinator, Grey Bruce Health Services, 519-376-2121, Ext. 2805, nischmidt@gbhs.on.ca


Centre Grey Hospital Redevelopment Project - Update
April 27, 2015

by Lance Thurston, President and CEO, GBHS

On Friday, April 24th we received the initial review by both the Ministry of Health and the South West LHIN of our Stage 2 Submission for the Centre Grey Hospital redevelopment project. The Ministry and the LHIN have reviewed the programs and services outlined in our Submission, as well as the physical space and the estimated costs for the new hospital.

As anticipated, we will be working on addressing the questions from the Ministry and the LHIN, and providing additional information and clarification on some of the finer details. We expect there will be considerable back and forth discussions with the Ministry prior to getting approval to move to Stage 3 – the Preliminary Design Development.

We remain optimistic that the project will proceed in a timely manner, and we look forward to providing further updates once we have final approval on our Stage 2 Submission.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email: markdalequestions@gbhs.on.ca

Thank you.

 


New Hospital for Markdale
February 5, 2015

by Grey Bruce Health Services

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care announced funding for a new hospital in Markdale in September, 2014. This is a significant opportunity for GBHS and for the community. 

Update: February 5, 2015

There are five stages in the approval process prior to starting construction of a new hospital. As of the end of January, we submitted our second document to the Ministry of Health and the South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) for approval. That document is referred to as a Stage 2 Submission.

The Stage 2 Submission outlines broadly the programs we hope to provide in the new Centre Grey Hospital, given the constraints the Ministry has imposed, and the amount of space needed to deliver those programs (51,000 square feet).

The Stage 2 Submission also includes our estimated cost for the project – currently $67 million, all inclusive – as well as a project timeline. We are optimistic that construction can begin in 2017 and will take approximately two years. 

Highlights of that Stage 2 Submission also includes a request for a palliative care room for the new hospital. We heard from residents and staff that the palliative care room is important to the community, and we adjusted our Submission to request this type of care.

The SW LHIN must endorse the Submission and the Ministry’s Capital Branch must approve it. This will take some time – months we expect. There will likely be several rounds of discussions/negotiation with the Ministry before we are approved to proceed to Stage 3 of the 5 stage process.

Updates will be provided here once we hear back from the Ministry.

Q & A on the New Hospital

What services will be in the new hospital?

Although we don't know the exact size until our Stage 2 Submission is approved, the Minister of Health has approved the following functional areas/services for the new hospital.  These include: 

24/7 Emergency Department

4 patient beds

Procedures Room(s)

Laboratory

Diagnostic Imaging

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Ambulatory care services

As mentioned earlier, we have also requested a palliative care room. This was not included in the original announcment made by the Minister of Health in September 2014 when we were granted approval to proceed with plans for a new hospital.

An important part of the programming of the new hospital and the services it will offer will be the working relationships we develop and maintain with the Community Health Centre, primary care providers, Grey Gables long-term care facility and community and social agencies.

Are the beds inpatient beds?

The beds in the new facility will be used for patients who require stabilization or treatment prior to being transferred to another hospital for further care, patients who require short term treatment, to ensure a safe transfer home.

This could include:

• Patients with an exacerbation of a chronic condition (e.g. COPD)

• Trauma patients where surgery and transport must be arranged

• Patients with chest pain who are awaiting results of testing

• Patients requiring blood transfusions

• Mental health patients who are waiting to be seen by the regional Urgent Response Team

The need for these beds will be compounded in winter months when travel is difficult.

While the beds are intended for shorter stays, the actual length of stay for a patient will depend on the particulars of their case, the demand for beds and the circumstances being faced by the hospital at any given time.

Is the number of beds set in stone?

In our previous submissions to the Ministry for a new hospital GBHS asked to maintain the number of inpatient beds in Markdale at 14. That was not accepted by the Ministry. The Minister approved four beds for the new hospital. While we consider this to be the starting point for discussion with the Ministry (the exact number of beds will be confirmed through analysis of case workload, projections, demographics, etc.) we don’t expect the bed count to change much.

Ministry policy and practice over the years has been to reduce the number of available beds in all hospitals across the region.

What procedures qualify for the Procedure Room?

A Procedures Room is for medical procedures that are not performed in physicians’ offices, such as endoscopy and colonoscopy.  The exact capabilities of the planned Procedure Room(s) are still being developed as we work through the design process. We will be working with the physicians and staff to define the list of procedures that we believe will be appropriate for such a facility.

What about an OR?

The new hospital will not include an Operating Room, however, we are optimistic that a modern, state-of-the-art Procedure Room will allow us to offer some of the minor procedures that are currenlty done in the OR.  In light of funding changes introduced by the Ministry, GBHS will have to be looking at its surgical programs across its sites to ensure that our programs are as efficient and effective as possible.

Are there opportunities to increase services offered at the hospital?

Yes. Some of the work that we are now doing in our Ambulatory Care clinics in Owen Sound could be considered for a procedures room in Markdale, for example. We’d like to offer pre-surgical screening in the new hospital for Markdale and area residents, and post-surgical re-habilitation for procedures done elsewhere at GBHS. We are exploring the potential of this with our physicians group and community partners.

Will there be any layoffs?

It is still very early days in the design of the functional program for the new hospital, which will determine the staffing levels and mix that will be required.

We do not anticipate a loss of employment as a result of the new hospital, but we cannot make any firm guarantees until we know what services and what level of services we will be able to operate in the new hospital. It is fair to say however, that there will be changes to jobs and perhaps changes in location of jobs. We will be working closely with staff and unions over the coming months.

When will we begin to transition to the new model of care?

Until we have an approved functional program (Stage 2 Submission) we cannot begin to address this important question. But we will address it in full consultation with physicians and staff and our labour partners at the appropriate time.

When will the new hospital be built?

Optimistically, we would hope to have a shovel in the ground within two years, but it could be longer. Keep in mind that with any new hospital project, there are five approval steps to go through before we begin construction. Each step requires a very detailed submission. The submissions go to the SW LHIN and to the Ministry of Health for approval. We sent our Stage 2 submission to the Ministry at the end of January, 2015, and we expect it to be several months before it is aproved, and we are able to proceed to Stage 3. 

When will we hear more?

We will touch base regularly as the project proceeds and when there is new information to share. Updates will be posted here on the website.

Change is not easy.

Please keep in mind that although the approved model may not be to our full liking it is an enormous opportunity for GBHS and the Centre Grey community that is not being made available by the Province to many other communities. Health care dollars are increasingly scarce, particularly new investments in rural health care.

To build a new hospital and offer the services that were approved in September of 2014 will be at least $50 million. GBHS will continue to infuse over $10 million directly into the local economy every year through wages and benefits. This is a significant investment in Grey Bruce and is certainly worth celebrating. We have the opportunity to solidify Markdale’s role in providing quality health care for generations to come.

Questions?

If you would like to send us a question about the new hospital, please send it to markdalequestions@gbhs.on.ca             

Click here to read the provincial government's September 2014 announcement about the new hospital.

 


Markdale hospital could be built in 4 years: CEO

November 4, 2014
By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sounds


The CEO of Grey Bruce Health Services believes construction of a new hospital in Markdale can begin within two years.

Lance Thurston has been pleased with how the process has proceeded since the announcement in mid-September the province had given the multi-million-dollar build the green light and he is confident in his two-year timeline for construction to begin and four-year estimate for project completion.

"We are hoping to have shovel in the ground within two years. That is an optimistic estimate of time and to get that everything has to work like clockwork," Thurston said Tuesday.

"Everything has to fall into place nicely to meet that timeline, but it is doable and that is what we are gunning for."

In September, Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins was in Markdale to announce the province's backing of the project, which is expected to cost between $50 million and $60 million.

The announcement was a long time coming as it had been 12 years since a fundraising campaign was launched to help GBHS build the new hospital in the town. A total of $12 million was raised in a couple of years.

In 2005 Grey County donated land for the facility at the south end of Markdale and a year later, the provincial Liberal government provided GBHS with a $3 million planning and design grant to begin the process to replace the aging Centre Grey Hospital.

Three years later the province said the project was a priority, but not much happened.

In the years since, some frustration has been expressed locally about the lack of movement, but local officials were not deterred and continued to lobby the province.

Since September's announcement, Thurston said province officials have met with him and others involved in the project.

"The ministry staff contacted us within days of that announcement and said they would like to get together for a more in-depth discussion. That was arranged within two weeks," said Thurston.

"Since then we have had another subsequent discussion with the ministry staff just checking in and making sure everything is moving along as it should be."

Thurston said GBHS considers the project priority No. 1.

"We want to do everything we can to ensure success," said Thurston. "We know the ministry is doing the same at its end, so hopefully that means ultimate success."

The project the ministry has approved will be 40,000 square feet, at least 4,000 sq. ft. larger than the current facility. It is expected to include a 24/7 emergency department, four patient beds, procedures room, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, outpatient rehabilitation and ambulatory care service.

Thurston said a hospital that size is estimated to take about two years to build.

"We are looking at four years for people to occupy a new facility," said Thurston. "If it can be sooner we will, but it is not likely to be sooner."

The Markdale project is in Stage 2 of a five-stage planning process for constructionl.

Stage 2 is the functional program stage, where details about operating requirements will be worked out.

Thurston said GBHS has re-engaged its engineers and architects to develop the details in terms of square footage and building standards.

He expects a submission to be made to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in early to mid January at which there is expected to be some negotiations on what the facility will include.

Thurston said a lot of the phase 2 work had already been completed, but there have been some changes since the original submission to the province.

"We have to go back now and redo the numbers and it has been a long period of time," said Thurston. "We have to bring everything up to date and there has been new standards for construction and various codes we have to meet."

The next stage will be the development of the detailed engineering diagrams and plans.

Stage 4 is when requests for proposals are gathered from prospective developers, while in the fifth stage, a developer is selected and construction begins.

Thurston said GBHS intends to be open with stakeholders along the way, providing new information as it becomes available on a link on the GBHS website.

He has met with physicians, unions, staff and some of those who have been involved in the fundraising initiatives for the project over the years.

He plans to meet with the outgoing and incoming Grey Highlands councils in mid-November and a public meeting is being scheduled for Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at Annesley United Church in Markdale.

"What we really want in this process is openness and communications and just being very transparent in the whole process," said Thurston.


 

NEW MARKDALE HOSPITAL - APPROVED!

Sept.17, 2014
Owen Sound Sun Times


Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced Tuesday that the province will be moving ahead with a plan to build a new hospital in Markdale. (DENIS LANGLOIS/QMI AGENCY)
Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced Tuesday that the province will be moving ahead with a plan to build a new hospital in Markdale. (DENIS LANGLOIS/QMI AGENCY)

At long last, Markdale is getting a new hospital.

Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, while acknowledging the community has been waiting “a long, long time” for this, announced Tuesday afternoon that the province has given the multi-million-dollar build the green light.

He made the long-awaited announcement in front of about 100 people at the planned site for the new Centre Grey Hospital, which is next to the Grey County-owned Grey Gables long-term care facility.

“There isn’t much to see here yet. There’s a nice sign. But soon, there will be a lot of activity at this site because I’m delighted to tell you that our government is moving forward with plans to construct a brand new Markdale hospital,” Hoskins said to loud applause.

“As you know, the Markdale hospital is an important health care centre and employer in this area and our government wants to make sure it will continue to serve the needs of the people who live here and in neighbouring communities for many many years to come.”

Hoskins, who worked as a physician in small rural Ontario hospitals before being elected to Queen’s Park, said the new facility, which will replace the deteriorating 63-year-old hospital in Markdale, will offer integrated care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will include short-stay beds, space for doctors to do minor procedures as well as diagnostic and laboratory services.

“It will be a better and stronger hospital,” he said.

“And it will remain a hospital. It will have that blue H on it.”

Detailed plans for the programs and services that will be offered at the facility are now being developed in “close consultation” with Grey Bruce Health Services and South West Local Health Integration Network officials, he said.

The province has approved spending up to $3 million, as a start, to support the capital planning for the project, he said.

He said he will not know how much the new hospital will cost until the design for the facility is finalized by an architect and the tender for the work is awarded to a contractor.

“It depends what the bid comes in at. There are a couple of steps which will determine precisely what the cost is but it is a very significant investment and as a government we are committed to seeing it through,” he told reporters after the announcement.

Grey Bruce Health Services CEO Lance Thurston said the most recent proposal for the new Centre Grey Hospital, presented to the province in 2013, called for a $50 million facility.

Hoskins said it is unclear at this time when construction will begin, but he said he looks “forward to that first shovel in the ground and to share many more milestones” with the community as the project moves forward.

“I’m as anxious as everybody else is to get that shovel in the ground as quickly as possible,” he told reporters.

It has been 12 years since a fundraising campaign was launched to help GBHS build a new hospital in Markdale. The community raised $12 million within a couple years.

In 2005, Grey County donated a piece of land for the new facility at the south end of Markdale.

A year later, the Liberal government provided the hospital corporation with a $3 million planning and design grant to begin the process to replace the Centre Grey Hospital. Three years later, the province said the project was a priority, but not much happened over the next several years.

Meanwhile, GBHS officials and local politicians have continued to put the pressure on the province to give the project the green light.

Grey County and hospital corporation officials, along with Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Walker, met with Hoskins, who took over the health portfolio from Deb Matthews in June, at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference last month to again push for a commitment.

Following the meeting, Grey County Warden Brian Milne told The Sun Times that Hoskins promised the delegates that he would have an answer for them before the last leaves fall off the trees this autumn.

On Tuesday, with the crowns of many nearby trees still full of green leaves, Hoskins gave the community its wish.

“You stayed true to that promise,” Thurston said during his remarks to the crowd.

Walker, who also spoke at the announcement, thanked Hoskins for his work to get the project approved. He said Tuesday was a “great day for the people of Markdale.”

Walker said he and other local politicians have “pushed hard” for the project over the years.

Hoskins acknowledged that the delegation at AMO and the money raised by the community both helped to get the project the green light.

He said people in the community, including local politicians, GBHS staff and those behind the fundraising efforts, should be commended for getting the project to this point.

“It’s a beautiful example of how a community project should evolve and I’m glad that now — some would say finally — we’re at the stage where we’re able to make that formal commitment and move as quickly as we can to begin that build,” he told reporters.

Thurston said GBHS, which operates six hospital sites in Grey-Bruce, believes the new Markdale hospital “can be a model for rural health care” in Ontario.

Many other officials were on hand for Hoskins’ announcement, including South West LHIN CEO Michael Barrett and chairman Jeff Low, GBHS chair Joan Homer, Grey-Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn, Grey County Warden Brian Milne, Grey Highlands Mayor Wayne Fitzgerald, Chatsworth Mayor Bob Pringle, West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles and Blue Mountains Mayor Ellen Anderson.


July 8, 2014

Walker to meet with new Health Minister about future of Markdale Hospital

QUEEN’S PARK – Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says he will meet with the newly appointed Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, to discuss the future of the Markdale Hospital. The offer to meet was made by Minister Hoskins after he failed to assure the local MPP of his government’s intended date for the construction of the new hospital in Markdale at Queen’s Park today.

Walker says he used today’s Question Period to reiterate his support for the new facility and to seek the government’s support of it too.

“I asked the new minister to confirm that infrastructure money would be allocated in the 2014 budget and that the hospital promise his government made to my constituents was not made purely for political purposes,” Walker says. “After the Minister failed to answer, I asked him if he accepted that the case for a rebuild is strong, and on what timeline he envisaged this redevelopment taking place.”

Walker says he feels it’s important for the new Minister of Health to understand that in Markdale’s case, it is not a case of a hand-out – the community, the Grey Bruce Health Services hospital corporation and the volunteers have worked hard to collect pledges toward the hospital project.

“The community stepped up to the challenge nine years ago and raised $13.2 million as their part of the challenge that this government put in front of them and they want the government to honour its commitment now,” he says. “Eleven years on, this hospital project is of profound concern and need to my constituents in Markdale and area.”

Walker says he has pledged to his constituents since Day One that he would go toe-to-toe with the Liberal government to get the new facility built. Says Walker: “It’s time this government honoured its pledge and given Markdale residents the new facility and the health care they deserve.”

CONTACT:
Ana Sajfert | ana.sajfert@pc.ola.org | 416-325-6242


August 1, 2013

GBHS Meets With Health Minister re. Markdale Hospital Project

Members of the Grey Bruce Health Services Board of Directors held a very productive meeting on Tuesday with the Honorable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care regarding its proposal to re-build the Markdale hospital.

The meeting was also attended by Jeff Low, Chair of the South West Local Health Integration Network Board of Directors, and Dr. Hamilton Hall, Chair of the fundraising campaign for the new hospital.

“I am very optimistic that we have the government’s full attention on this project,” said Maureen Solecki, President and CEO of Grey Bruce Health Services. “Minister Matthews was very impressed with the plans for the new hospital. She clearly understands the challenges of delivering health care in rural communities, and has asked her staff to work closely with us on next steps.”

Key elements driving the need for the new hospital include the aging of the current facility, the complexity of care required by the large number of elderly patients living in the community, the lack of public transportation and isolation particularly in the winter months. Core services to meet those needs were reviewed at the meeting including the need for ongoing access to 24 hour emergency care, a small inpatient unit, laboratory and diagnostic imaging services, and an OR/procedure room.

GBHS has developed strong partnerships with the SW Community Care Access Centre, the South East Grey Community Health Centre and area hospitals to develop a network of care for the region, which includes both hospital and strong community-based health care services. The plan continues to include locating the new hospital on the site of the area’s long-term care facility Grey Gables.
Area residents have shown tremendous support and patience for this project, and through the Centre Grey Health Services Foundation, have raised over $12 million in donations and pledges toward a new hospital. The Minister is aware of the strong financial commitment from the community to this project, which is an essential component required for the project.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with the Minister’s staff over the coming months to keep moving this project towards approval. We appreciate the patience of the community and our hospital staff over this long journey and our commitment was redoubled yesterday to press forward with the positive reception we received at the meeting,” said Solecki.

Media contact:
Mary Margaret Crapper, Director, Communications & Public Relations, Grey Bruce Health Services, 519-376-2121 ext. 2806 mcrapper@gbhs.on.ca
www.gbhs.on.ca


Cautious optimism over Markdale hospital

By Tracey Richardson,
Sun Times, Owen Sound
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MARKDALE - The chair of the Centre Grey Hospital foundation says Markdale “can’t exist in limbo for too much longer” over a new hospital.

Ron Goldsmith, who also sits on the Grey Bruce Health Services board, hopes to be included in an upcoming meeting between GBHS and Health Minister Deb Matthews about a new hospital for Markdale.

“I think it's great news, something we've been hoping for for rather a long time,” Goldsmith said of the meeting with Matthews. “I take it as an extremely welcome opportunity, and one I look forward to greatly, whether I'm at the meeting or not.”

A date for the meeting is being worked out, and it's believed to be imminent. Goldsmith said there have been meetings about a new hospital with ministry staff over the years, but a sit-down with the minister is a rarity.

“At the very least it demonstrates that the minister knows we have a situation here that has to be addressed,” Goldsmith said this week, making it clear he was speaking in his role as foundation chair and not as a member of the GBHS board. “I think she probably does have an understanding of the situation the community is in. It's not a particularly common thing to have a completed fundraising campaign and have money sitting in the bank for seven or eight years.”

Markdale was given the green light to raise money for a new hospital about 12 years ago. During that time, $13.7 million was collected or pledged. That figure is now down to just over $12 million, because a major pledger died before the money was collected, Goldsmith said.

He said the $12 million still fulfils ministry requirements for the local portion of building a new hospital, which is somewhere upwards of $60 million. But some contributors to the campaign “have become extremely frustrated with the waiting game and have become doubtful that the project will go forward at all, and have been asking for their money back.”

There is no obligation to return money to donors as long as the project remains alive, Goldsmith said.

Active fundraising for a new hospital has halted, although the foundation continues to raise money annually for capital equipment. “The community is demonstrating extraordinary patience and support for the old hospital,” Goldsmith said.

More than two years ago, GBHS submitted revised plans for a new hospital, moving away from a stand-alone model. It calls for a 72,000-square foot “rural health centre” on property connected to the Grey Gables long-term care facility, which is owned by the county. The new hospital would be an integrated facility that would include primary care, an emergency department, ambulatory surgical services and procedures, 12 inpatient beds and rehabilitation services, as well as a lab and diagnostic imaging services. It would also house the Southeast Grey Community Health Centre, which is in temporary quarters in Markdale.

When plans for the new model were submitted, Goldsmith said it seemed to be what the ministry wanted, “but then it simply stalled.”

Goldsmith said he hopes the meeting with Matthews will shed some light on how the ministry views the project, and what more Markdale and GBHS might need to do. But he cautioned that he's not taking the meeting as a sign that a new hospital is a foregone conclusion.

“We would be naive if we went into the meeting thinking she was able to write us a cheque. I don't think that's going to happen. What I hope for is a combination of encouragement and clarity . . . I think the community knows better than to imagine that she's calling the meeting just to tell us that we can start the hospital next month.”

NEW HOSPITAL WATCH: FACTS & RUMOURS

November 2012
As we continue to wait for Provincial authorization to begin construction on our new hospital, the community’s frustration level increases daily. The Foundation and its members share this frustration entirely. As each year passes it becomes more difficult to sustain the energy and optimism that was so evident during the building campaign that was launched nearly a decade ago. In this environment it isn’t surprising that rumours find fertile ground. Foundation members hear new ones almost weekly.

Here are some recent rumours & the facts:

RUMOUR #1: The Province has already cancelled our new hospital project.

FACT #1
: The project has NOT been cancelled. It is still on the Ministry’s planning agenda. The Minister of Health and Long Term Care has stated that she favours the project and expects it to go forward “in time”.

RUMOUR #2: The Foundation has begun to refund donations made to the building fund.

FACT#2: The Foundation has NOT refunded a single donation. Our commitment to the community is to hold the funds in trust pending construction of the new hospital. Under Canada Revenue Agency regulations we can return donations only if the new hospital project is cancelled (which is NOT the case).

RUMOUR #3: The Foundation is spending the capital fund on equipment for our current hospital.

FACT #3
: We are NOT withdrawing money from the building fund. The fund is intact and is managed by a very capable investment team answerable to the Foundation Board. Current hospital needs are met through our general fund, which exists through ongoing fundraising efforts.

We will attempt to correct further misunderstandings in future newsletters. In the meantime, our message to those in power regarding the new hospital is:

We’re ready and we’ve waited long enough.
It’s time for ACTION!



Posted on South West LHIN website - Full Coverage from the April 28, 2012 Quality Symposium

Big steps forward for Markdale Rural Health Centre Annual operating funding for the new South East Grey Community Health Centre (SEGCHC) in Markdale has been confirmed, enabling the organization to ramp up its operations at an interim site while capital planning work continues on the SEGCHC’s future home within the Rural Health Centre, an integrated site with Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS).
Prior to the CHC being approved, work was underway in the Markdale area to address concerns over the need to replace the current aging hospital facility. When the CHC announcement was initially made, it made sense, from the patient’s perspective, to co-locate the health facilities. The rural health centre model combines primary care and acute care services in one facility, creating a patient-centred approach to care. Part of a regional framework, the centre will utilize nearby hospitals for more complex care such as inpatient surgery and other traditional secondary level hospital services.
The South West LHIN Board of Directors approved a functional program and functional plan for the 72,000 square-foot Rural Health Centre to be located beside Grey Gables at its March meeting in Meaford. In addition, it conditionally approved the functional program for the CHC, pending an alignment meeting with the Ministry.
“We really do see this as one-stop shopping for patients and a very good blend of hospital services and community supports,” says Maureen Solecki, CEO of Grey Bruce Health Services. “We are excited to be in partnership with the CHC.”
For the CHC, recruitment of clinical, professional and administrative staff is moving into high gear. When fully operational, the SEGCHC will have a team of 13 clinical staff including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, a dietitian, health promoters, and other allied health professionals as well as an administrative team supported by a budget of $2.6 million. The SEGCHC is now working with the South West LHIN on the development and approval of a shared performance and accountability agreement that will guide the operations of the SEGCHC.
For SEGCHC Board of Directors Chair Terry Mokiry, the news is most welcome. “Board members have volunteered many hours over the past number of years and are elated by this recent funding announcement. We can now proceed with our mandate. This includes finalizing the interim site of the SEGCHC, the continued recruitment of staff, the continuing stages of accessing our priority client population and moving forward with the GBHS in the establishment of a Rural Health Centre in Markdale.”
“The SEGCHC will be responsible for providing primary care, health promotion and community development services for priority populations in South East Grey,” says Allan Madden, Executive Director SEGCHC. “We will be focusing our services on seniors, people who are economically disadvantaged, children and youth, individuals with moderate mental illness and addictions, people with physical and mental disabilities, pregnant women and families.” “Health care is about more than treating illness, it's also about addressing the underlying conditions that contribute to healthy lives and healthy communities, and the SEGCHC is an excellent vehicle for doing that,” says Jeff Low, Chair, South West LHIN Board of Directors.
A presentation on the Rural Health Centre was made by Grey Bruce Health Services and the South East Grey Community Health Centre at the South West LHIN Board Meeting in March. A video is available on the South West LHIN website.


Markdale hospital backers upbeat about long run
April 3rd, 2012

By Don Crosby - Published in The Owen Sound Sun Times

The cancellation of four hospital projects as part of last week’s provincial budget has not dampened the spirits of some people working toward a new hospital in Markdale.

“The word is the hospital is not dead, it has absolutely not been pulled out of the line,” said Dr. Hamilton Hall, former chairman of a committee that helped raise more than $13 million for the new facility. “They made it clear they are not going to make any new announcements this year because of the budget. But the hospital is still in play.”

In an interview with The Sun Times last week, health minister Deb Matthews said a replacement for the 60-year-old Centre Grey Hospital was still on the province’s radar. It will be “a little further out,” she said, possibly two or three years away from moving forward. Matthews said she supports the project and “would love to
see it” proceed.

It’s been a long haul for those working toward a new hospital for Markdale. About $13 million has been raised or pledged in the community. In 2006, the Liberal government announced $3 million to fund the project’s initial planning and design stage. Three years later, the government said a new hospital was still its priority.

Earlier this year, a delegation from Grey Bruce Health Services met with Matthews’ staff, “and we were reassured that the new hospital remains under active consideration as part of the government’s capital plan,” said president and CEO Maureen Solecki.

Chris Griffin, a member of the community advisory committee and a trustee on the GBHS board of directors, said Matthews’ remarks were what the people of the area realistically wanted to hear.

“What she said was you have a good project, you have done all of the right things, you’re going in the right direction. It can’t be done today or tomorrow. It’ll take awhile, maybe two or three years. Well, to me, two or three years is good news,” said Griffin.

“I think the message to the community is don’t give up hope,” Griffin added. “(Matthews) said she understood the community’s anxiety . . . she said she appreciates the project, the work that people are doing and that’s what we needed to hear.”

Solecki said “it takes a really long time to get these major hospital projects through each step, so it’s hard to be patient, but I’m confident our continued advocacy and the unwavering support of this community are the keys to its success.”

Ron Goldsmith, vice-chair of the Centre Grey Health Services Foundation, said he is heartened by the minister’s comments.

“It’s been six years now since we’ve had a minister give quite such clear support for the project,” Goldsmith said. “I think we’re taking this as quite a positive step. It’s true we don’t expect anything much to happen in the next two to three years. We’re actually taking this as much more positive than negative.”

Despite Matthews’ encouraging remarks, Hall warned that the community must remain solidly behind the hospital project despite the delays. He said he plans to go return to the ministry every year because the government does a year-by-year analysis of its spending priorities.

Goldsmith said continued strong community support also helps keep the project on the government’s radar.


Update on Markdale Hospital Project
Feb. 24, 2012

Markdale Standard - Letter to the Editor

We are writing to provide Centre Grey residents with an update on the status of our proposal to build the new Rural Health Centre in Markdale.

We recently met with staff from the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care’s office to seek clarity on our project’s timeline. We were joined by members of the hospital’s Board of Directors; Dr. Hamilton Hall, who as many readers will know was the Chair of the fundraising campaign for the new hospital; and Mike Barrett, CEO of the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

We provided the Minister’s office with a full overview of the project, its long history and our belief in the benefits of bringing hospital care and the existing Community Health Centre together on the same site with Grey Gables. We received affirmation that our Rural Health Centre proposal is in keeping with the model of integrated health care the provincial government is promoting. Our plan maximizes access to a full range of health care services for residents while minimizing costs by sharing resources with the Community Health Centre.

The South West LHIN has also been very supportive of the Rural Health Centre concept for Centre Grey and its support was reinforced by Mike Barrett during our meeting.

The Minister’s staff was very impressed with the community’s financial support, and recognized that the contributions from the Municipalities, individual donors, and businesses were quite remarkable given the size of our community.

The government has established a ten-year capital plan for infrastructure renewal in Ontario. A number of funding announcements, including several hospital projects, have been made in the past several months and it is expected that more projects will be approved and funded each year.

We do not yet have approval to move forward in our planning process. However, the Minister’s office reassured us that our hospital is included in the group of hospital projects under active consideration for subsequent years of this plan. This is extremely frustrating, of course, not only for the communities of Centre Grey but also for Grey Bruce Health Services but we do know that it is not unusual for hospital rebuilds to be a very long time in the planning stage.

Grey Bruce Health Services remains fully committed to securing approval to rebuild the hospital, and we will continue to work with the Ministry and advocate for this very special project.

While we await approval, be assured that we will continue to provide the best possible care in our current Markdale hospital.

We have always been overwhelmed by the support of the Centre Grey community for its hospital. That support maintains our enthusiasm and commitment to this very worthy project. We look forward to providing Centre Grey residents with further updates on this project.

Sincerely,

(original signed by M. Solecki and B. Davenport)

Maureen Solecki, President and CEO, Grey Bruce Health Services
Brian Davenport, Chair, Board of Directors, Grey Bruce Health Services

 

Mayor encouraged by interview about Markdale hospital
Feb 28, 2012

By Don Crosby, Sun Times Correspondent

The mayor of West Grey says he's now more optimistic about a new hospital in Markdale than he has been for a while.

"I'm probably more encouraged at this point than I was two or three years ago. (Then) it seemed like we were getting lip service for it. With the support of the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and constant meetings with Ministry of Health staff there's an awareness of the absolute need, not just a want. This is a need for a new hospital in Centre Grey," Kevin Eccles said during an interview Monday from the Ontario Good Roads conference in Toronto.

Eccles headed up a delegation with Southgate Mayor Brian Milne, Grey Highlands Mayor Wayne Fitzgerald and Chatsworth Mayor Bob Pringle as well as Grey County Warden Duncan McKinlay that met with Health Minister Deb Matthews on Monday morning.

The 15-minute meeting with Matthews didn't produce a firm commitment for a new hospital, but the delegation was assured that the proposal "is very much on the radar."

Eccles learned a few weeks ago that the project has the support of the South West Local Health Integration Network, a key step in getting onto the government's capital projects priority list.

"According to the LHIN it is number 2 on their list of hospitals. They've got five projects and it's number 2. And the Ministry of Health is pushing strongly for it," said Eccles.

Southgate Mayor Brian Milne echoed Eccles' optimism.

"The Markdale hospital is very much on the radar. The government very much wants to do this project but it's just a matter of getting it into the lineup of projects that need to be done. Minister Matthews said you're doing the right thing, keep going and we'll get there, but she made no firm commitment beyond encouraging words," Milne said.

Eccles said his sense is that the government wants to approve the project but is hamstrung by budget pressures.

He said the Ministry of Health can only make recommendations to the infrastructure minister, whose decisions are given final approval by Treasury Board.

Eccles said he plans to seek a meeting with officials with the infrastructure ministry to press the case for the new hospital.

Milne said he was convinced that Matthews understood the frustration of the community, which has raised more than $13 million for a new hospital, only to have the project stall.

"She understands the frustration and she is frustrated herself. She's as frustrated as anybody else, but the project is going to have to wait its turn," Milne said.
Matthews turned down a proposal by Grey Highlands Mayor Wayne Fitzgerald for private funding to pay for construction of the new hospital now and have the province pay back the investors later.

"The minister tried to make it clear that while that's a good initiative, at the end of the day the province is going to have to pay that loan back. The province doesn't have a problem getting financing. It's the age-old problem, it doesn't matter where the money comes from you still have to pay it back. If your capacity to pay back is limited then there's no point in taking on any more debt regardless of where it comes from," Milne said.

In response to an e-mail request for a comment, Warden Duncan McKinlay said Matthews encouraged the group to continue its efforts to move the project forward.

"She indicated that this is known as a worthwhile project, caught up in the competition for scarce resources which keep it off the ministry project list but worthwhile (enough) to keep in the forefront for the time when funding may be available," McKinlay said.

"Cautious optimism comes from the premier's statement today of his government's commitment to health care in Ontario. Only time will tell how this commitment may affect the future project in Grey County," he added.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker said the delegation made a good presentation and is helping keep the proposal before the minister.

"I think she likes what is there. She has not forgotten about . . . I think Deb has an affinity for the what is being proposed there and she understands the need. I think it was encouraging that I didn't hear anything saying you're off the list. They are not on the first five-year plan, but that plan is reviewed on an annual basis," said Walker.

Walker said he too is convinced of the sincerity of the minister.

"I trust if they had the cheque-book ready that would be good to go, but the reality is they are overextended, overcommitted perhaps and now is the challenge of where and when do we write this cheque," said Walker.

He promised to keep the proposal before Matthews in the legislature.


MPP vows to continue fight for new Markdale hospital
November 28, 2011

By DENIS LANGLOIS, SUN TIMES STAFF
Published in the Owen Sound Sun Times

MPP Bill Walker says he will not let up on the fight for a new hospital for Markdale.

"The people are keen. The need is there. Rural Ontario is being ignored totally by the Liberals. Health care is obviously critical to everyone. So let's do the right thing and get this one on the docket, as promised, and get it built," the Bruce-Grey- Owen Sound Progressive Conservative said in an interview.

Walker voted in the Ontario Legislature last week to support a private member's bill, tabled by his Tory colleague MPP Rob Leone, that calls on the McGuinty government to follow through on promised expansions and hospital builds in Ontario.

Passed in a 54-50 vote, which is non-binding, the motion directs the Liberals to present a report by March 2012 that lays out the costs, completion deadlines and financing plans for promised hospital improvement projects.

"Markdale residents have been promised for years that they would get their hospital built, yet, here we are today, still calling on the government to get our hospital project on its five-year capital plan," Walker said in a news release.
"After years of broken promises, Ontarians have lost trust in this government, and that's why it's so important to hold them accountable on their word."

Walker said he plans to create and present a petition to Queen's Park that calls on the Liberal government to commit to building the Markdale hospital.

More than $13 million has been raised in the community for the construction of a new Markdale hospital to replace the near 60-year-old Centre Grey Hospital.
The Liberal government announced in 2006 a $3-million grant to fund the project's initial planning and design stage.

Three years later, the province said building a new hospital for Markdale was a priority for the Ontario government, even though a shovel hasn't gone into the ground.

Walker, in his news release, said "poor management" by the Liberals has limited their ability to properly fund needed projects in rural Ontario, and, specifically, "the people of Markdale and surrounding area are paying the price and continue to go without" a new facility.

"I took a walk through the current hospital a month and a half ago . . . and it is dilapidated. It's beyond it's time," Walker said in an interview.

"There's an opportunity here for (the province) to build a new rural model. You've got money in the bank. Let's find a creative way to get it done."


 

Doctor Says Markdale Hospital Will Happen
August 2011

Written & published by CKNX Radio

A man instrumental in raising money for a new Markdale hospital is confident the hospital will be built. Grey Highlands council has heard concerns from citizens about what will happen to the 13 million dollars raised for the hospital if it's not built. Doctor Hamilton Hall has chaired the fundraising committee since it started ten years ago. He says he met with provincial officials as recently as two weeks ago and was assured a new Markdale hospital is still under consideration. Doctor Hall says one of the strengths of the hospital bid is the strong community support. He suspects the approval for a new Markdale hospital may come during the provincial election campaign.

Dr. Hamilton Hall
Dr. Hamilton Hall

 



Markdale Hospital, centre to be combined
May 2011

By Don Crosby, published in The Owen Sound Sun Times

The South West Local Health Integration Network board gave its support for a proposal for the Markdale Rural Health Centre at a board meeting in Meaford on Wednesday.

The proposal calls for some health-care services in southeast Grey to be integrated. A community health-care centre, expected to start later this year, and the Markdale Hospital, which is to be rebuilt, would be combined to form the rural health centre.

LHIN and Grey Bruce Health Services officials agree that the next step is to get the provincial government to include the project on its 10 year capital projects list and begin developing an architectural design.

LHIN chief executive officer Michael Barrett's advice is for a group of municipal leaders, hospital officials and LHIN representatives to meet with staff at Minister of Health Deb Matthews' office.

"I think it's up to the local mayors and representatives of the hospital to move forward to try and have that conversation with the minister’s office or the minister's office staff to help them understand the proposal," Barrett said during a public meeting in Flesherton on Wednesday. "We recognize the importance of this project to the municipality and we'd be there to support the municipal mayors and hospital in that process."

There was no mention of a doctors' clinic as part of the new facility, as some people in Markdale had anticipated.

Maureen Solecki, CEO and president of Grey Bruce Health Services, said there's been considerable discussion about where to locate a doctors' clinic, but it being part of the hospital is not in the works.

"What we're trying to do, by putting the hospital and community health centre functions together, has never been done anywhere else where hospital and community health care cent re s have come together. It's more challenging to put primary health-care offices into a hospital because there is no operating budget to support that," said Solecki, who added that the community health care centre has an operating budget that includes money to rent office space for health-care practitioners in the centre.

"Individual physicians manage either by owning their building or renting their offices. It's more complicated to incorporate them into a hospital structure," Solecki said.

Solecki acknowledged the similarity in services provided by community health teams and community health centres. Each community health centre has a clear mandate and targets specific populations depending on its location. The centre is staffed with doctors, nurse practitioners and other health-care providers paid for by the government.

Solecki is confident there will be a high level of cooperation among all health care providers, "whether they are receiving hospital care, whether they are receiving primary health care through the community health centre or primary care through the existing nurse practitioners and other health care providers."

"Because it's a rural community we need to be flexible about what services are provided. I would hope that we would all be more flexible about how we provide the care here in southeast Grey," Solecki said.

Grey Highlands' Mayor Wayne Fitzgerald says it's important to keep the political pressure on the government in the months leading up to the provincial election in October. He is also encouraged by any movement on a new rural health centre could have positive results on attracting more doctors.



New Hospital Update
November 2010

Since the summer of 2010, two important meetings have been held with provincial government officials. Staff of Grey Bruce Health Services, working closely with the South West LHIN and the South East Grey Community Health Centre, met with the Capital Branch of Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and also with Infrastructure Ontario. Both meetings were very constructive and have led to more detailed conversations about our new hospital project. We share our community’s frustration that an official go-ahead has not yet been given. However, we continue to be optimistic, knowing from events of the past six months that our project is very much alive and in the eye of Provincial authorities. Although the Foundation is not directly involved in these meetings, we will keep you informed of developments in regard to our new hospital.


Markdale Hospital Still in Play
August 17th, 2010

By Don Crosby
For The Markdale Standard

During the recent visit of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound federal Liberal candidate Kim Love to Markdale, Dr. Hamilton Hall said there’s good reason for continued optimism about the future of the Markdale hospital. Hall said the ministry of health officials are re-examining the original idea of a hospital to replace the existing Centre Grey Hospital on a new larger green site at the south end of town next door to Grey Gables, the county senior’s home.

Hall says the ministry planners are seriously looking at a concept for one-stop health care centre that would combine a hospital with doctor’s clinic and other ancillary services such as community care access services. For some time now South East Grey Community Health Centre has been approved. And up until now it has a budget for staff and professionals but no place to operate.

Hall says that while this type of facility is more common in the more remote parts of the province he thinks the ministry of health is looking for a model or template for southern rural communities and Markdale might well be part of that planning.

Hall told Love and Dr. Carolyn Bennett, the federal Liberal party health critic last week, that the county owned property next to Grey Gables is ideal. There’s plenty of space for all kinds of services and room to grow in the future. He noted that while the number of beds in a new facility would likely be reduced he stressed the importance of having some kind of hospital facility in Markdale which is currently the only emergency care facility between Orangeville and Owen Sound. And with the presence of the local recreational ski resort in the nearby Beaver Valley and winter road closures to Meaford, Markdale is a critical link in the emergency services in the area.

Earlier this year it was learned that the ministry of health had released an additional $1.3 million for the second stage of planning and design. That’s in addition to the $900,000 that was given a few years ago to pay for the early stages of planning and design. It’s part of $3 million that was promised by a former health minister several years ago.

Maureen Solecki, president and CEO of the Grey Bruce Health Services recently said the latest proposal has the support of the Local Health Integration Network. As recently as last month officials from the Grey Bruce Health Services were to meet with the ministry’s capital branch. Hall says these incremental movements along a slow path are all good signs that the plan is alive and being taken seriously. he says it’s important to stay in touch with ministry officials to remind them that the people of Markdale are still waiting and that they have done their share by raising about $13 million, their share of any new hospital.

Hall is optimistic and says people have to be patient. He said nobody knows what motivates the government to make decisions on large capital items. The last estimate was that a new hospital would cost in the neighbourhood of $60 million. he says Markdale is still on the radar with the ministry and the best that can be done is to continue to keep up the pressure on the government and to be patient. “These things can take a long time…we’re still in play,” Hall said.


Federal Health Critic Visits Hospital
August 5th, 2010

By Don Crosby
For The Markdale Standard

Bruce Grey Owen Sound candidate Kimberley Love, who is running for the Liberals, ended a tour of south Grey County on Thursday with a stop in Markdale to discuss the future of the new Centre Grey Hospital. Love was accompanied on the tour by Liberal health critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett.

During the tour through Markdale, Love and Bennett visited the site of the proposed new hospital then went on to see firsthand the conditions of the aging Centre Grey Hospital building.

Its been five years since the community submitted blueprints to the provincial ministry of health for approval.

Dr. Hamilton Hall, who was part of the welcoming committee, noted that the presence of the local federal Liberal candidate and the opposition health critic are important in raising the political awareness of plight of the need for a new hospital in Markdale.

“We are in a very political situation right now. The more people in government at all levels who realize the seriousness of our need and who are willing to support the cause I think this is important…Although the federal government doesn’t have a direct involvement in health care, they talk to the provincial people. So this is just one more voice added to the cry that Markdale needs a hospital,” Hall said.

“I’m so delighted to have the opportunity to show Carolyn around this part of the riding and to share with her some of the challenges facing our rural communities. I’ve been very involved in some of these issues in south Grey…and I know it’s easy for small communities to feel neglected,” said Love during the tour. “I want our communities here to know that I’m listening. That the Liberals are listening. And that we’ve carried back many of these concerns to the Liberal Party and made this riding part of the national conversation about building better rural policy,” she added.

The Liberals released their Rural Canada Matters platform earlier this year which includes plans for Canada’s first ever national food policy. Among the promises being made in the rural policy platform include plans to increase the number of doctors and nurses in rural communities by working with the provinces and territories to forgive the federal portion of student loans incurred up to a maximum of $20,000 nurses, doctors, and nurse practitioners. The policy also calls for a Liberal government to guarantee 100% high speed internet connectivity within three years, along with $3,000 tax deductions for volunteer firefighters in recognition of the public service they provide their communities. As well the Liberals if elected promise to introduce a rural Canadian Postal Service charter to restore rural mail service and prevent any further erosion of the rural service.

In Dundalk, Love and Bennett heard from Southgate councillors about the difficulties experienced in recruiting a doctor to serve the community that has been without a doctor for the past couple of years. Councillor Dennis Evans noted the struggle involved in getting support from the Local Health Integration Network in a bid for seniors’ residence and alternative health care centre in Dundalk.

Mayor Don Lewis said there are better policies in place for the health and the care of farm animals than human residents of his community. “One of the biggest divides in this country is the urban/rural split and what we need to do is bridge that gap and show people that the Liberal Party is listening to rural Canada and we’ll put in place what we’re hearing on the ground,” said Bennett.


Some Good News
June 2010

We are very pleased to announce that the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has released an additional $1.3 million of our previously-approved $3 million planning and design funding.

Current plans focus on the integration of our new hospital and a Community Health Centre to create a “Rural Health Centre” in Markdale.
The $1.3 million grant enables Grey Bruce Health Services, the South East Grey Community Health Centre and the South West LHIN to pursue detailed planning. This work has now been under way for several weeks. We will be meeting with the Ministry’s Capital Branch in July to share our planning progress to date.

We are delighted with this news. Even though it falls short of a formal “approval to build”, the planning grant - which is significantly more than was requested – signals that the government is supportive of our concept and the process in place to bring it to reality.


Is There Any News About Our New Hospital?
February 1, 2010

Maureen Solecki
President & CEO, Grey Bruce Health Services

Yes, although not yet the definitive statement we are all waiting for. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has expressed its interest in planning for an integrated health care facility that would bring multiple services together in one location. With this in mind Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) is involved in discussions with the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) about the concept of a Rural Health Centre that would accommodate the new hospital, the South East Grey Community Health Centre (SEG CHC) and physician offices.

We are working aggressively with the LHIN and the SEG CHC Steering Committee to submit the relevant information and plans to the Ministry. Our objective is to make sure that final plans for the new hospital and other health care services are in line with community needs as well as provincial health policy and priorities.

The approval process for new hospital construction in Ontario is a very slow one. It’s hard for us to remain patient when we know the need is great and the community has demonstrated its commitment through overwhelming support of the hospital building campaign. Nevertheless, I believe the Ministry’s interest in an integrated health-care facility is a strong signal that this community’s health care needs are an important priority.

We will work very closely with the SEG CHC Steering Committee, the South West LHIN and our local physicians to move this project forward. GBHS will do everything in its power to gain approval for the construction of a new hospital that the Centre Grey community deserves so much.


Change in Hospital Plan for Markdale
November 3rd, 2009 

By Don Crosby for The Markdale Standard
  
Proposed changes to the design for a new hospital in Markdale that would make it a rural health centre appear to have found favour with the provincial ministry of health and other government agencies.
 
A rural health centre would serve both the acute care and primary care health needs of the community and could be a model for the province in forming new rural health policy, said Maureen Solecki, President and CEO of Grey Bruce Health Services during a public information meeting held in Flesherton last week. Planning discussions are getting under way with the South West Local Health Integration Network.
 
“I would say they are very supportive of a rural health care centre in Markdale and have been working very closely with us on that . . . and ultimately the LHIN needs to approve any large capital project of this nature through the ministry of health. So they have been very supportive and been willing work with us in the planning process,” Solecki said.
 
Solecki told about 150 people at a public health forum in Flesherton on Tuesday evening (Oct. 27) that the hospital would continue to include all the acute care services and 24 hour emergency services, labs, day surgery, in patient and out patient services as wells as x-ray, laboratory and physiotherapy currently available.
 
The only trade off would be fewer in-patient hospital beds. But the advantages would include having a new medical clinic with up to nine doctors and the Community Health Centre with its doctors and more than a dozen ancillary health care workers all in one place next door to Grey Gables- the county retirement home.
 
A community health centre provides care for specific groups such as single mothers, in some cases first nations residents, and people with drug and mental health problems that are not covered by the other health care services and are without a doctor.
 
The community health care centre planned for south east Grey already has a guaranteed 2010-2011 operating budget of its own of $ 2.1 million to pay for up to 13,000 square feet of office space and 19 full time staff.
 
The idea of having a centralized rural health care centre isn’t new. It’s been promoted by local residents for several years now. But is just starting to find favour with the ministry of health officials. “It’s actually not as much a change as getting the government to see it the way we’ve always seen it,” said Dr. Hamilton Hall chair of the hospital planning board.
 
“Now they are coming to us and saying that’s a great idea. Why don’t we put it all in one place. . . The trick is to get them to think it’s their idea of how clever they are . . . and then it moves forward,” Hall said.
 
Hall is encouraged by the change in attitude on the part of the government with interest being shown from government agencies such as the capital branch and infrastructure Ontario that wouldn’t talk to local organizers for years.
 
“Now they are saying maybe we could put something together and fund a new rural health care project. We’re fine with this,” Hall said. Hall explained that Community Health Centres were designed for rural areas without hospitals or areas in large urban centers away from a hospital. Originally the idea was to have a new hospital in Markdale and community health centre in places like Flesherton, and Dundalk and Markdale and a separate doctors’ clinic.
 
“Well that makes sense in the cities but makes no sense in Markdale, makes no sense in a rural area. It’s taken us almost 10 years to get the urban thinking of government of why should you have a hospital on one street of Markdale and a Community Health Centre four streets over. That works in Toronto. That doesn’t work here,” Hall explained. “Now they are coming to us and saying that’s a great idea. Why don’t we put it all in one place,” he added.

Hall tried to allay the fears of some people at the meeting who worried that the rural health centre would dilute the services that are currently being provided by the hospital in Markdale.
 
“The good news is this is coalescing a lot of what we’ve always wanted into a government initiative. They’ll take it forward and we’ll go with them,” he said.
 
Hall warned against residents getting their hopes up that approval and funding would soon be happening while the province recovering from the E-health scandal and a showing huge deficit.
 
“But they have to come out of it and we stand in a very good position. There’s relatively small amount of money required, (it’s) a very popular idea. . .we are in a very good position,” said Hall who sees the rural health centre concept as the way of the future and Markdale on the verge of being the first in the province.
 
Solecki said so far only $900,000 has been spent on planning for the new hospital of a $3 million grant that former health minister George Smitherman gave the project several years ago. The ministry of health has yet to approve the next stage of planning but the funding is there when that approval is given.
 
Other speakers at Tuesday’s public information forum included Lera Ryan, chair of the physician recruitment and retention committee, Linda Martin from the Community Care Access Centre, Jo-Anne McConnell of GBHS who spoke on infection control and the need for frequent hand washing and Terry Mokriy of the South East Grey Community Health Centre.


Letters to the Editor
The Markdale Standard
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Editor of the Markdale Standard, Ontario Premier McGuinty and Minister of Health David Caplan,

The Markdale community needs your help.

The area was hit by a tornado August 20 and has suffered another blow with the loss of the Chapman’s Ice Cream processing plant to fire on Friday, September 4. Buildings were destroyed in both catastrophies resulting in real threats to the incomes and welfare of families throughout the area.

Over five years ago, after consultation with the Ministry of Health, local physicians, engineers, other professionals and the community at large, your government challenged the community to grow a fund of $12 million toward the construction of a new hospital. If the money could be raised, the province would provide its share of the costs and the new facility would become a reality.

The money was raised in an amazingly short period of time and all eyes turned toward the government, excited about what was about to come. More consultation took place, a new and improved cost sharing program developed, drawings created and a site approved. A large sign was erected indicating where the new hospital is to be.

This new facility is to be a model for other areas to follow. A facility that could assist people in need of day-to-day emergencies, family health care, counseling and so on, including affiliation to a seniors’ long term care centre located next door. What a fabulous concept.

Both Minister Caplan and the previous Minister of Health, George Smitherman, have been briefed throughout the entire process and, according to all the reports we in the community have received, they have been positive and enthusiastic.

We are excited about our new hospital and the time is right to have construction begin. This community needs not only a boost to its economy but a boost to its morale. We look forward to seeing the building take shape.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

David Watson
Markdale


June 2009

There have been concerns expressed by some of our donors and some members of the community at large about the delay in commencement of construction of our new hospital.

This is totally understandable, particularly for those who contributed to the $13 million plus raised by the Foundation in cash and pledges. The cash segment is being held in trust for the donors in a designated category, apart from "General Funds" It is being very conservatively invested, along with a portion of the "General Funds" by an Investment Committee made up of four individuals with extensive experience in investing. Their decisions are made based, in large part, on recommendations received from their professional investment advisors, BMO Nesbitt Burns.

There follows a series of press articles which have appeared over the past two years which we believe will give the reader a great deal of comfort as to the ultimate "go ahead" announcement from the Ontario Government.

We, of Centre Grey Health Services Foundation, along with those involved at Grey Bruce Health Services, are confident that approval will be forthcoming. We just do not know when.

Sincerely,
Dick Kavanagh
Director, CGHSF


Smitherman Supports New Hospital
April 8, 2009

By Don Crosby for The Markdale Standard

The Deputy-Premier of Ontario spoke encouragingly last week about the future of the proposed new hospital in Markdale. George Smitherman said the next step is to get more detailed planning done to make the Markdale hospital project more construction ready.

“There’s a very high degree of awareness in our government of the necessity of doing that in Markdale. I’ve seen that facility myself. We did give them some money to get the first bit of planning done but we know the community is ready to move to the next level. I’m looking, along side my colleague David Caplan, to find the capacity to do that,” Smitherman said during an interview following a turf-turning ceremony for a new recreation centre in Hanover on Friday, April 3.

“The Centre Grey Hospital, as an example, stands as a priority for the government of Ontario. We haven’t yet been able to identify the funding in that community, but no one can quarrel that there’s a need there. As we make infrastructure investments, Markdale as one small example is a place where additional revenue would be required,” said George Smitherman, who is also the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.

Maureen Solecki, the interim president and chief administrative officer of the Grey Bruce health Services, agreed that there are more planning steps needed to go through in order to get the final approval for the project and the hospital corporation is awaiting the ministry’s permission to move on to the next planning stage.

“The functional program is with the Ministry of Health and under consideration by them. At this point we don’t have approval of the functional program yet, so we can’t go on to the next step,” Solecki said.

Deputy-Premier very positive about new Centre Grey Hospital

Only about one third of the money promised by Smitherman in 2006 to pay for the planning and design of the new hospital has been spent.

“We’ve only received about $1 million of the $3 million grant . . . that was to get us to submit our functional design program to the Ministry of Health . . . there are a number of phases yet to go . . . in order to be ready for construction,” Solecki explained.

Markdale is fortunate to have a planning and design grant, she said, adding she is encouraged by Smitherman’s commitment to the project. “There are lots of communities in the province with desires to do major renovation projects or rebuild projects and they have not received approval for planning and design grants and we are very pleased that we have received that. Another huge factor for the rebuild of Centre Grey hospital has always been the huge community support of the project,” she said.

The minister said the Ontario government plans to spend an additional $7 billion in the next two years on hospital construction. He said that in the last five years the Liberal government has invested more money in hospitals than the last five governments in Ontario combined.

“Yes, as we make infrastructure investments, the Markdale hospital, as one small example is a place where additional revenue will be required. We’re going to keep building,” said Smitherman. “It’s a top-of-mind issue. Lots of places can make a strong case for why they need investment and Markdale can make a very, very strong case for that, so we hope to be in a position to show some progress for that community,” he added.

Solecki is aware of the huge pressure and demand on the province for hospital rebuilding plans and other infrastructure projects and recognizes the need to be patient as this one winds its way through a very complex approval process.

“It’s good to know that this project remains well-known to the minister. We’re thrilled with that because you know the community is concerned and anxious that the project go forward as soon as it possible,” she said.

Grey Bruce Owen MPP Bill Murdoch said he was heartened and surprised by Smitherman’s candor when asked by a reporter about the plans for the new hospital.

“He said it was right up there near the top . . . and as long as he keeps talking about it that way it will get done . . . to my mind he seemed quite genuine. I think it’s all positive,” said Murdoch, who believes Smitherman has a degree of personal commitment to the project. “I’ve always felt that way. I always felt George was committed to it . . . He has been right there from the start . . . and today just proved it when he spoke the way he did,” Murdoch said.


Hope for Markdale Hospital
April 6, 2009

By Don Crosby for The Owen Sound Sun Times

Ontario’s Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman has a message of hope about a proposed new hospital in Markdale.

“The Markdale hospital, as an example, stands as a priority for the government of Ontario. We haven’t yet been able to identify the funding in that community, but no one can quarrel that there’s a need there. As we make infrastructure investments, Markdale as one small example is a place where additional revenue would be required,” Smitherman said in an interview after a turf-turning ceremony for a new recreation centre in Hanover on Friday.

The minister said the next step is to do more detailed planning.

“There’s a very high degree of awareness in our government of the necessity of doing that in Markdale. I’ve seen that facility myself. We did give them some money to get the first bit of planning done, but we know the community is ready to move to the next level. I’m looking, alongside my colleague David Caplan, to find the capacity to do that,” Smitherman said.

Maureen Solecki, the interim president and chief administrative officer of Grey Bruce Health Services agreed that there are more planning steps needed to get to the final approval for the project, and the hospital corporation is awaiting the ministry’s permission to move on to the next planning stage.

“The functional program is with the Ministry of Health and under consideration by them. At this point we don’t have approval of the functional program yet, so we can’t go on to the next step,” Solecki said.

Only about one third of the money promised by Smitherman in 2006 to pay for the planning and design of the new hospital has been spent.

“We’ve only received about $1 million of the $3 million grant . . . that was to get us to submit our functional design program to the Ministry of Health . . . there are a number of phases yet to go . . . in order to be ready for construction,” Solecki explained.

Markdale is fortunate to have a planning and design grant, she said, adding she is encouraged by Smitherman’s commitment to the project.

“There are lots of communities in the province with desires to do major renovation projects or rebuild projects and they have not received approval for planning and design grants and we are very pleased that we have received that. Another huge factor for the rebuild of Centre Grey hospital has always been the huge community support of the project,” she said.

The minister said the Ontario government plans to spend an additional $7 billion in the next two years on hospital construction.

He said that in the last five years the Liberal government has invested more money in hospitals than the last five governments in Ontario combined.

“Yes, as we make infrastructure investments, the Markdale hospital . . . is a place where additional revenue will be required. We’re going to keep building,” said Smitherman.

“It’s a top-of-mind issue. Lots of places can make a strong case for why they need investment and Markdale can make a very, very strong case for that, so we hope to be in a position to show some progress for that community,” he added.
Solecki is aware of the huge pressure and demand on the province for hospital rebuilding plans and other infrastructure projects and recognizes the need to be patient as this one winds its way through a very complex approval process.
“It’s good to know that this project remains well-known to the minister. We’re thrilled with that because you know the community is concerned and anxious that the project go forward as soon as it possible,” she said.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch said he was heartened and surprised by Smitherman’s candor when asked by a reporter about the plans for the new hospital.

“He said it was right up there near the top . . . and as long as he keeps talking about it that way it will get done . . . to my mind he seemed quite genuine. I think it’s all positive,” said Murdoch, who believes Smitherman has a degree of personal commitment to the project.

“I’ve always felt that way. I always felt George was committed to it . . . He has been right there from the start . . . and today just proved it when he spoke the way he did,” Murdoch said.


Letter to the Editor
GBHS C.E.O. Responds
March 4th, 2009

The Markdale Standard
The Flesherton Advance
The Dundalk Herald


Dear Editor,

RE: Centre Grey Hospital

I have been asked by several members of the community to provide an update on the new Centre Grey hospital project.

Recent media coverage of the project has raised concerns about the timing of approval for this important project.

I don’t know when the project will get the green light to move forward to the next step in planning.

I do know that Grey Bruce Health Services has received a $3M planning and design grant from the Ontario government to undertake the complex planning work for a new hospital. In that regard Markdale and broader Centre Grey community is way ahead of other Ontario cities and towns who have a need for renovation or rebuilding of their health care facilities.

Our planning process has involved nearly all of our hospital staff in Markdale, our physicians and our community health partners. Together they have given us great ideas as to how we can care for our patients looking many years forward to the future. Their efforts have resulted in our ability to submit what we believe are really good plans for the new hospital to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

I also know that the community has been unbelievably generous in its donations to the campaign for the new hospital. It is completely understandable that donors both large and small are anxious to see the project move forward. I am a donor too and I am impatient for the project to move forward because I know the challenges our staff face in providing care in our current hospital.

The fact that the community has raised $13M in donations and pledges is one of the biggest strengths of this project. Many other communities further along in their planning for their major building projects have not been as successful in securing the local share of their projects and that will limit their ability to move forward.

We are working very closely with the South West Local Health Integration Network with respect to this planning process. Their responsibility is to look at all of the health needs of the community which include hospital care, primary care and the broad range of services provided through a community health centre. Rural communities have unique challenges in providing a wide range of health care services to a small population base. We have key leaders in our organization like our Program Director Susie Furlong and our Vice President of Clinical Services Sue McCutcheon working hand and hand with the LHIN to ensure that those health care needs are met.

The approval process for a new hospital is a long one. It is a difficult economic environment we find ourselves in today.

While I am impatient to move forward, I am also hopeful that because the need for the new hospital and closely related community health care services is compelling and the community has signaled its support for the project through such a strong financial commitment, that approval will be received to proceed.

Sincerely
Maureen Solecki, Interim President and CEO
Grey Bruce Health Services


Committee Chair Remains Confident About Hospital
February 25, 2009

By Don Crosby for The Standard

Dr. Hamilton Hall is undeterred in his confidence and optimism about the future of a proposed new hospital for Markdale. The world famous back doctor, who lives near Markdale and was instrumental in heading up a massive fundraising campaign that raised over $13 million in cash and pledges for a new hospital, said there was nothing new in the statement by Health Minister David Caplan last week when he said that the Markdale hospital won’t be included in the spring budget.

“What he said, when you strip it all down, is that it won’t go ahead in the foreseeable future. Well, the foreseeable future for a politician is very short. Its next year.” said Hall, adding, “We didn’t expect it to be in this year’s budget. There are a lot of projects, they don’t have the money and they’re terrified of the economy and [Caplan] is being very very cautious.”

Hall said what the minister said last week is exactly what he should saying; that the government doesn’t know for sure when funding for the Markdale hospital will be approved, but that the hospital is still on the list of approved new projects.

Southgate mayor Don Lewis’ suggestion to revamp the style of hospital has already been accounted for in the design of the proposed new hospital which is to have fewer beds than the current building and with a focus on being an emergency out-patient facility. “This is a newer more efficient design…when they built the old hospitals, they built them and then worried how they were going to pay to run them. Those days are gone. Now you address how you are going to run even before you build it,” Hall said.

Hall said everyone involved in the project knew that getting approval for funding would take some time and now, with the downturn in the economy, money is tighter than ever, the government has to look more carefully at where it’s going to spend its money. “There is all kind of infrastructure stuff that needs to be done. And they are scared. They don’t know what to do,” he said

For the past 10 years, governments have examined ways of managing the health care budget with funding going into preventative medicine and community-based family health teams and home care, all the while changing the emphasis of the hospitals back to their original purpose of providing acute care. “But family health teams have to operate somewhere,” Hall said, “The family health team is a good idea but they can’t operate in a field. What facility is it going to be their backup and where is it going to be…when you break a leg, you need a hospital,” he said

Hall said it was decided years ago that the Markdale hospital site was strategically located and needed to survive. And while the decisions was one that was made a long time ago and by a different government the Markdale hospital location is growing in importance between Orangeville and Owen Sound. It may only be a half hour from Owen Sound but it’s another half an hour to Dundalk and it’s another 40 minutes from Dundalk south to Orangeville.

“If you get hurt near Dundalk where are you going to go. Highway 10 is a busy highway that’s getting busier. We are right in the middle. It’s like a donut with services all around us,” said hall, adding, “the ski hills are another story. The place to go if you’re hurt on a ski hill would be Meaford but in the winter when they close the roads where are they going to go now?”

“It’s not the news that I wanted to hear. I’d prefer they’d say you’re going to get your hospital next week…the minister didn’t say no…we’ve been accepted as a project to be done. Now it’s just a matter of when,” Hall said.


Murdoch Holds out Hope for New Centre Grey Hospital
January 7th, 2009

By Don Crosby for The Standard

There is a 50 per cent chance that Markdale could get its new hospital this year, said Bruce Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch during his predictions for 2009.

He asked the Minister of Health and Long Term Care for an update in the legislature just before Christmas and was told then the hospital was still on the governments list of priorities but no more than that.

“It may not happen this year, there is a 50-50 chance because of the economic downturn but it would be good to stimulate the economy by doing that,” said Murdoch during an interview on the weekend. “It isn’t a project that has gone by the wayside so that’s good. If they had said it was no longer on the radar then we’d be in trouble, but they haven’t done that, so that’s good.”

Murdoch said he’s pushing the government to continue reconstruction of Highway 26 between Meaford and Woodford and Meaford and Thornbury as well as Highway 6 north to Tobermory. He expects the stretch between Meaford and Thornbury will be done first. “It’s in worse shape no doubt about it. The congestion is worse there,” he said. Again he’s not sure if work on that stretch will take place this year because of the economy. It will all demand on the Liberal government’s priorities. He expects those priorities will become clearer with a new throne speech and budget later this year which he predicts will contain plenty of financial stimulation and infrastructure spending.

He predicts premier Dalton McGuinty will prorogue the legislature soon after the federal Conservatives introduce their new budget and throne speech later this month. Once that happens, the McGuinty government will indicate its direction. “They won’t do anything until they see what the feds do on the 26 of January, and then it will be a chain reaction,” said Murdoch, adding, “because of the economy the government is going to have to put its money for where it can get the biggest bang for its buck.”

Murdoch said before the provincial motion was prepared to prorogue the legislature. It just requires the signature of the Lieutenant Governor. “They have a motion ready and some bills will continue on such as my bill, the one for people with disabilities. They said they wouldn’t kill it,” Murdoch said.

Murdoch laments the lack of a strong opposition in the legislature during the coming year. With the retirement of the leader of the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives leader John Tory still without a seat in the legislature, it makes for a weak opposition. “The Liberals are just sort of floating along. They’re not doing anything because they don’t need to. The Progressive Conservative Party has to get its act together,” said Murdoch who hopes Tory will announce he’s resigning from the leadership and let a leadership campaign begin. Murdoch says he has no regrets over his call to have John Tory step down last fall as head of the conservative party and he hasn’t changed his view about what Tory should do if he can’t get a seat in the Legislature. For the good of the party and the sake of the opposition he says Tory should step down. So far the conservative leader hasn’t been able to find a sitting member to retire and allow Tory to run in that riding. He worries that Tory will decide to wait until the provincial election in the fall of 2010 and run again. “I think that would be disastrous for the party and for Ontario because the Liberals are going to sleep at the switch. They have no direction. They need a direction or plan,” he said. Tory has promised to make an announcement about his future on January 9.


New Centre Grey Hospital Still Under Review
November 5th, 2008

By Don Crosby for The Markdale Standard

The proposed new hospital for Markdale is included in the provincial government’s long term capital projects, said Bruce Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch.

Earlier this week, Murdoch asked Health Minister David Caplan during question period when Markdale residents could expect to get their new hospital.

It’s more than a year since the community raised $13 million toward the cost of the estimated $50 million hospital to replace the current aging structure. In answer to Murdoch, Caplan is reported in Hansard to have said that the government is preparing a 10-year, $60-billion capital plan and “Markdale is a part of that mix, of those requests that are outstanding, and will be part of that considerations as that plan is put together,” Caplan said.

On May 4, 2006, then health minister George Smitherman announced that $3 million would be given to the hospital foundation for planning and design for the new hospital. On October 16, 2007, Grey Bruce Health Services submitted its functional plan and related materials to the ministry of health to support the proposal which was followed by supplementary information that was received toward the end of November.

“And the submission is currently under review, “Caplan told Murdoch.

Murdoch said during an interview on Thursday from his home near Bognor that he raised the question in the legislature to find out if Caplan was as committed to the project as the former health minister.

“He’s new and I wanted to put him on the record saying he’s still supporting it. We have Smitherman on record but we don’t have Caplan on record.”

Murdoch said he interprets Caplan’s response as a way of saying the government doesn’t have a lot of money to spend right now. With the downturn in the economy, Murdoch doesn’t expect construction for another two years but he is encouraged by Caplan’s answer.

“It’s only positive – he seemed enthusiastic about it. I think we’re ahead of lots of others but we won’t be first. I wouldn’t lose faith,” said Murdoch.


The New Centre Grey Hospital
Top Ten Questions
July 30, 2008

by Maureen Solecki, Vice President Strategic Planning, Community Relations and Support Services, Grey Bruce Health Services & Jennifer Edwards, CGHSF Coordinator

1.  Are we getting a new hospital?

Although we have not yet received final approval or an announcement from the government, the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care (MOHLTC) has been very supportive of the planning and design process completed by Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) thus far regarding this project.  The strong community support that was shown through Centre Grey Health Services Foundation’s (CGHSF) hospital campaign that raised over $13 million dollars is a very strong signal to the government that this community is solidly behind this project and we believe is a key reason for the government support that we have received with this on-going project.  The $3 million dollar planning grant that was given to GBHS in May 2006 is a strong indication that the government believes in this project.

2.  When will the construction begin?

The construction will begin after the government announces its approval of this project.  After the approval is officially announced it will go through a tendering process with construction to begin following final Ministry approvals on that aspect of the process.

3.  When is the government going to make an announcement?

We just don’t know and cannot predict this.  Every stage of the step-by-step planning process that did require government approval has been approved to date and; we are still waiting for the government’s final approval.  The five year plan that was recently released by the government did not include any new hospital projects.

The competition for provincial funding of large capital projects goes well beyond the health care sector and we may have to wait longer than we originally thought for the final approval of this project, as will many other hospitals with similar building projects.

4.  Why is it taking so long – what is the hold-up?

We are coming to understand that the approval of a new hospital is an incredibly complicated process. It requires an intensive level of planning at the local level which has been actively underway for some time now. It also requires a very complicated approval process across many levels of government. It is not something that can or should be rushed.  Although not as quickly as we hoped, things have progressed, including the completion and submission of the Functional Program to the MOHLTC in October of 2007.

After we receive their feedback, the GBHS hospital and its design team will have an opportunity to address any issues of concern, as identified by the MOHLTC; this will be submitted and the MOHLTC will review it again and determine whether or not they will give these components of the project their approval.

5.  Will the community need to raise more money?

We certainly hope the community will not have to raise more money for the hospital re-build. The government requires the involvement of cost consultants on a project of this magnitude. At the present time the cost estimating for the project comes in within the 10% requirement for the community’s funding share. We are concerned about cost escalation so the sooner the project can receive implementation approval the lower the risk of any need for further community fund raising or scaling back on the project size.

6.  How long can the old hospital last?

The average age of Ontario hospitals is 42 years. Parts of our current hospital are 50 years old. We have a number of building systems that no longer meet building code requirements. GBHS is reluctant to invest funds in major building upgrades when everyone’s hope is that a new hospital is on the horizon. In addition to the building system issues, the layout, size and arrangement of services in the hospital does not meet our patient’s needs as so much about the way health care is provided in hospital has changed since the building was built.

So while the building is clearly still standing and operating with its current constraints, every year that goes by adds to the concern that continuing to operate safely and efficiently in it is not sustainable. The recent need to shut down the majority of our electrical power to the building, including back-up generator support, to repair electrical switches is the kind of problem GBHS is concerned will become more common the longer a decision is delayed.

7.  What level of government makes this decision?

The decision will be made by the Provincial Government with input from many sectors of the government including the South West LHIN.

8.  What happens to the donated money – the $13 million - if the new hospital does not get built?

People who donated to the hospital campaign were told that if the new hospital did NOT get built, that they would have the option of getting their money back.  It will not automatically be put towards something else; all donors will have the choice of getting their money back but only if the hospital is not approved by the government.  We hope this will never be the case.

9.  If we do get a new hospital, will we have doctors to work in it?

A brand new facility will definitely help to attract and bring new doctors to work in this area. Uncertainty about the future of the hospital adds to the challenge of recruitment of new physicians to any community.

10.  How much will the new hospital cost?

The current estimate for the new hospital is approximately $52M. Original estimates for the hospital did not include extensive site development requirements, rapid escalation in hospital construction costs and changes to building design as a result of SARS which add to the size and complexity of the design.


Good News for Centre Grey Hospital
July 30, 2008

The Markdale Standard
by Don Crosby        

A response by the George Smitherman, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, to a petition presented by Bruce/Grey/Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch earlier this year seeking a commitment for a proposed new hospital for Markdale is encouraging, said Dr. Hamilton Hall.

Smitherman received the petition when he was still Minister of Health and Long Term Care.  “Essentially what it said is that we have not forgotten your hospital.  It’s still very much alive and well, and we’re still looking at it, which is very good news.” said Hall, during an interview on Friday.

Hall has been heavily involved in the fundraising for a proposed $50 million hospital to replace the aging Centre Grey Hospital in Markdale.

“The good news is we think we have more friends in the government in different places than we did before because Smitherman has always been a supporter, we have never doubted that, and David Caplan is also a supporter.  So we now have two ministries that contain senior people that are supportive of our project.”

Earlier this year, Caplan replaced Smitherman as Long Term Care and Smitherman was appointed to a new super ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.

Hall said he’s buoyed up by the response to the petition submitted by Murdoch and signed by several hundred local residents because it shows that the government hasn’t closed the door on the proposed hospital.

Until the government gives a flat out no to a proposal, it is alive and to date Markdale hasn’t been given a definitive no to its request for funding for a new hospital, Hall said.  Residents have raised $13 million and are waiting for the government to approve putting up the rest of the money for a new hospital.  Earlier this year, the former health minister said no funding was allocated for hospitals in the 2008 budget. 

“Part of the problem is that no single ministry has the power it used to have.  In the good old days, the health ministry decided what they were going to do and they did it but now health has to compete with infrastructure – health is up against people who want to build highways.  Now it becomes a game of what is more important,” said Hall.  Hall, who is the point man in the nonpolitical part of lobby by area residents, said he plans to reconnect with officials in the office of the new health minister David Caplan.

“Bill Murdoch wrote a letter to Caplan congratulating him on his appointment and reminded him about the new hospital in Markdale.  So he is doing everything he can…  Government doesn’t like to be made to look bad.  “Our job is to quietly and politely keep the pressure on.”


New Markdale Hospital Submission Under Review
July 24, 2008

Local Radio News – Aired 101.7 The One

There's a sign this week that the Ontario government has not forgotten about the Markdale Hospital.

Bruce-Grey Owen Sound Conservative MPP Bill Murdoch received a reply this week from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, regarding his petition about the construction of a new hospital in Markdale.

The petitions signed by people throughout southern Grey County requested that the Ministry of Health announce as soon as possible its intended construction date for the new Markdale Hospital.

The response this week indicated that the hospital submission is under review.

A release from Murdoch's office stated that the response was 'good news', and the Ministry is reviewing all plans and applications submitted by Grey Bruce Health Services.”

Residents of Markdale and surrounding areas have been privately fundraising for the construction of the proposed new hospital, raising millions of dollars to help cover the cost of any future construction.

Link:  http://www.1017theone.ca/news.php?artID=26273


GBHS Setback No Surprise
May 12, 2008

Hospital president says minister’s comments about not funding Markdale build this year in line with provincial budget

The Sun Times 
By Don Crosby
Sun Times Correspondent

The president and chief executive officer of Grey Bruce Health Services is disappointed but not surprised by word the province isn’t planning to approve construction of a new hospital in Markdale this year.

Provincial Health Minister George Smitherman took some Markdale residents by surprise when, while visiting Bruce Power late last month, he announced that he didn’t know for sure when he could give approval for the proposed new hospital and he couldn’t give a time frame when he could make such an announcement.
“It would be very nice if we could get at announcement that we were moving to implementation.  But given the way the budget dame down this year we weren’t surprised when the minister said he’s not in a position to make an announcement that it’s moving to implementation,” Campbell said.

Smitherman added the province wouldn’t have provided $3 million for planning the hospital if it wasn’t serious about the project.

Campbell said money for the proposed $50 million hospital was not included in the spending estimates of the government’s budget released earlier this year.

“In fact there was a real focus in the provincial budget on infrastructure other than hospitals.  So the minister’s comments didn’t take us by surprise, but clearly it took some of the community by surprise,” said Campbell.

“I would emphasize that we continue to work on the planning, we continue to work with the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) who do understand that this is an important project to move ahead.

“We continue to work with the elected officials in the area who support us in moving the project forward.”

Campbell said the announcement by the minister will come when the government is ready to allocate the funding.

“I would assume at this pint that their approval cycle for this year had gone by, which we’re very disappointed in and very concerned about, but at the same time it doesn’t change the fact that we continue with the planning process,” Campbell said.

She also noted there haven’t been any requests by the ministry officials to reduce the size of the proposed hospital.

“I know that there has been some discussion across the province about different projects being asked to change the size of the scope of their project.  We may be asked to do that and we’ll certainly be looking at that in the context of what is going on in the health system in general.  But at this point we haven’t been asked to do anything like that,” Campbell said


Hospital Still on Track
April 30, 2008

By Lori Ledingham
For The Markdale Standard

I read a story in the Saturday Sun Times about the new Centre Grey Hospital that quoted Minister of Health George Smitherman as saying, “[Markdale area residents] will be the first to know when our government is in a position to make an announcement about rebuilding the hospital in Markdale.”

“I recognize that they like other communities are anxious to see a new hospital. If we are frank about it, we’ve got more than a couple of those across the province of Ontario."

His words were a bit vague, and I wanted to make sure nothing has changed regarding our hospital so I immediately called the chair of the new hospital’s Steering Committee, Dr. Hamilton Hall.

“The minister's comments caught us by surprise,” said Hall. “He was asked about the project out of context, when he was at Bruce Power. But if you read his comments carefully, nothing has changed in terms of our new hospital.”
“The ministry has never said anything other than that this project is moving forward as planned. With the government, anything short of a “no” means keeping moving ahead.”

Smitherman acknowledged that all of the local funds – totaling more than $13 million – required for the project have already been raised. Hall continued, “We met with members of the Ministry of Health two weeks ago and they are preparing their final comments for us on our Functional Plan. We expect to hear back from the ministry shortly. As far as we are concerned, absolutely nothing has changed with regard to our new hospital.”

I found this news quite reassuring since the Sun Times headline indicated that the hospital might be ‘on hold.’ “Our project is moving ahead,” asserted Hall. “It remains a question of when will we get our hospital, not if. George Smitherman did not put the hospital on hold.”

“Yes, there are other hospital projects across the province that the ministry is looking at but we need to remember that we are one of just a few communities who have raised 100 per cent of the local funds required by the government. That puts us in an excellent position going forward, and that is exactly where our hospital is going.”

I was glad to hear these comments from Hall as he is directly in touch with the ministry officials who are dealing with the plans for the new hospital. It seems like a long wait for the new hospital, but we have to be reassured and trust that the plans are coming together and the project is working its way through the necessary government departments. And yes, it does take a long time!

We have an excellent team at work on seeing the hospital’s plans through to completion and to date, we’ve only heard positive, constructive news and comments from the government and the departments that are scrutinizing the plans. That’s the real news about the new Centre Grey Hospital.


Sign Goes up on New Hospital Site
March 10, 2008

Sign goes up on new hospital site
photo credit: Eric Lundsted

By Lori Ledingham
For The Standard

Hospital officials and local dignitaries gave the Centre Grey community something it’s been waiting to see at Monday’s sign unveiling for the new hospital.

Chair of the Steering Committee for the new hospital, Dr. Hamilton Hall said at the event, “It’s a real thrill to be able to unveil this sign and give the Centre Grey community a peek at how the new hospital will look. It’s been a very long winter and an equally long planning process for the new hospital — this is an opportunity to show the general public some of the results of the work we’ve been doing.”

The sign was erected close to the new hospital building’s proposed main entrance just south of Grey Gables and unveiled under sunny skies Monday morning. It features an artist’s rendering of the new building based on the planning completed to date.

“This is clearly a very positive step in the progress of our new hospital,” said Hall. “This sign confirms to the community that we are going to have a new hospital. Everyone working on the plans knows that we couldn’t put up this sign if it wasn’t going to happen.”

“Secondly, the government is fully aware of the sign unveiling and by allowing it to go up, the government is indicating its support of our hospital ."

Dan Rose, chair of the Centre Grey Heath Services Foundation, noted at the unveiling, “We live in a great community. None of this would have happened without the generous support of the people of this area. They’re the ones that have made this all possible.”

Also attending was Grey Bruce Health Services CEO Pat Campbell, who said, “We’re very pleased with the progress that has been made in the planning and continue to work very closely with the Ministry of Health to meet all of their planning requirements. We anticipate having feedback from the government on our Functional Program in the near future. Approval of the Functional Program is a critical planning milestone on the way to securing the final approval to build.”

While the Functional Program is under review, the design team is continuing its work.

Dr. Hall explained, “The current focus of the design team is on ensuring that all of the clinical and patient support systems including computers, pagers, nurse call systems, telephones, and clinical monitoring equipment are fully integrated. There have been tremendous advances in the capability of all of these devices in recent years so every effort is being made to take full advantage of the benefits this equipment can bring to patient comfort and safety, as well as supporting staff and physicians in their work.

Planning also continues for a primary care building to be co-located with the new hospital.

“This adjacent building would be a home for our family doctors, and would undoubtedly attract new doctors to this area. It’s part of the planning for an integrated system of acute, primary and long-term care on one site in Markdale,” said Hall.

“This sign gives the community a stronger sense of the shape and appearance of the new hospital as work continues on the planning and approval process with the Ministry.”

Sign goes up on new hospital site
Sign goes up on new hospital site
Sign goes up on new hospital site Sign goes up on new hospital site
Sign goes up on new hospital site
Sign goes up on new hospital site
Sign goes up on new hospital site


The New Centre Grey Hospital Update
January 2008

The design team has begun work on the challenging task of ensuring that all of the clinical and patient support systems, including computers, pagers, nurse call systems, telephones and clinical monitoring equipment are fully integrated. There have been tremendous advances in the capability of all of these devices in recent years, so every effort will be made to take full advantage of the benefits that this equipment can bring to patient comfort and safety, as well as support to our staff in their work.   

We now expect a formal response on the Functional Program for the new hospital in mid-February 2008. The hospital and the design team will then have an opportunity to address any issues of concern, as identified by the Ministry of Health, with a decision expected on approval of the Functional Program in mid-March 2008.
 
Maureen Solecki
Vice President Strategic Planning, Community Relations & Support Services
Grey Bruce Health Services


Chapman’s Completes $1 Million Dollar Pledge
January 16, 2008

Sent to The Markdale Standard, The Flesherton Advance & the Dundalk Herald
Written by Dan Rose, Chair, CGHS Foundation


Dear Editor,

In January 2003 the $12,000,000 “Quality Care Close to You” campaign began and rebuilding the Centre Grey Hospital became the number one topic of conversation in the Centre Grey community.

The first call was to Chapman’s Ice Cream Limited on January 17, 2003.  That particular call set the tone for the rest of the campaign.  David and Penny Chapman assured us of their 100% support and shortly thereafter, made a pledge of $1,000,000.  In the following months of the campaign, the Centre Grey community demonstrated its strong support for a new hospital and on August 31, 2005, the campaign wrapped up with a total of $13,200,000 committed.

Since then there has been steady progress.  In May 2006, the Honorable George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, presented Grey Bruce Health Services with a $3,000,000 planning grant.  This started an intense planning effort culminating in the submission of the revised Master Program and Plan as well as the Functional Program for the new hospital in mid-October of 2007 to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) for their approval.  Locally, Grey Bruce Health Services, the County of Grey and the Municipality of Grey Highlands are finalizing administrative details for the transfer of the property at Grey Gables.

All of this has taken a lot of time and once approval is received much more time will be required to complete the planning.  What is encouraging is the positive feedback received from the MOHLTC throughout this project.

Understandably, local people are impatient and some are questioning whether or not the new hospital will ever be built.  This is not the case with David and Penny Chapman.  Right from the start they have been convinced; both about the need to rebuild the hospital and that the hospital will get final government approval to rebuild.  In order to reassure the community, they have encouraged Centre Grey Health Services Foundation (CGHS) to release this information about their pledge.  Every year, their pledge payment has arrived right on schedule and on November 29, 2007, David Chapman presented the CGHS Foundation Treasurer, Dick Kavanagh, with a cheque for $200,000; their fifth and final pledge payment, which completed their $1,000,000 pledge to the campaign.

On behalf of Centre Grey Health Services Foundation, I want to thank David and Penny Chapman for their leadership, their influence and for their outstanding financial support throughout the “Quality Care Close to You” campaign.

Sincerely,

Dan Rose, Chair
Centre Grey Health Services Foundation


The New Centre Grey Hospital Update
December 2007

The Steering Committee was delighted to receive the latest architect’s rendering of the new hospital at its November 2007 meeting.  The project feels ‘real’ when it begins to take shape in this type of drawing.  A sign marking the site of the new hospital will be erected soon at Grey Gables in Markdale to provide the community with its first glimpse of the hospital.

The planning process continues with the submission of the Functional Program for the new hospital in mid-October.  This is a major planning milestone so as a result, it is expected that a formal response from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care will not be received until early in the New Year (2008).  This is in keeping with the normal planning timeframes for major hospital capital projects.
 
Maureen Solecki
Vice President Strategic Planning, Community Relations & Support Services
Grey Bruce Health Services

Artist’s Rendering of New Centre Grey Hospital
Artist’s Rendering of New Centre Grey Hospital


The New Centre Grey Hospital Update
September 2007

The hospital Project Team received formal comments on the Master Plan back from the Ministry of Health in early August 2007 and is in the process of finalizing a lengthy response to that document.

As we have been working through this response, we have received great support from the staff of the Health Reform Implementation Team (HRIT) section of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC).   This is the branch of the MOHLTC that is responsible for reviewing the programmatic aspects of hospital capital projects. 

The Project Team hopes that the extensive input being provided to the HRIT on the Master Plan at this time, will expedite the review and approval of our Functional Program planned for submission in the coming months.

While the process of careful review by the MOHLTC of all of our planning documents seems like a long one for everyone who is excited and interested in the timing of our re-build; it’s the same process that every community goes through in seeking final approval for major hospital building projects.

Artist's Rendering - New Hospital Entrance
New hospital entrance way - artist's rendering


The New Centre Grey Hospital Update
August 2, 2007

Planning for the new Centre Grey Hospital is proceeding well.

  • The hospital’s Project Team is receiving comments on the Master Plan/Program submission from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
  • The MOH feedback will assist the Project Team in finalizing the Functional Program that is scheduled to be submitted in early September 2007 

  • The Functional Program contains details on all hospital services, staffing and space requirements 
  • The Functional Program represents a key milestone in the project and must be approved by the MOH for the project to proceed to implementation   

The New Centre Grey Hospital Update
June 2007

Much has been accomplished since the Ministry’s approval of our $3 million planning grant in May of 2006.

A major milestone in the planning process has been achieved with the submission of the Master Plan to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC). A meeting to receive the MOHLTC feedback will take place in early summer 2007.

A very positive meeting was held with Grey County and the Municipality of Grey Highlands with respect to the building site.

Work is underway with respect to the property acquisition. The final placement of the hospital on the Grey Gables site has been adjusted to accommodate Ministry of Health requirements for hospital expansion. It is now expected that the Memorial Grove will no longer need to be re-located.

Equipment consultants have begun the extensive process of creating an inventory of all existing equipment and the determination of building design and functional requirements for equipment installation.

Staff, managers and physicians have been working very closely with the architects to move from the schematic design completed in April to actual room layouts for all areas of the hospital. This work has required a real effort by all of the staff involved as there are many other initiatives underway at the same time. However, staff have noted how exciting it is to see their new hospital taking shape before their eyes.

All members of the Steering Committee and the Design Team are working very aggressively to complete the design by late summer/early fall for submission to the government for approval to implement.  The Steering Committee will be meeting in late July to review progress at that time. 


The New Centre Grey Hospital Update
June 4, 2007

  • A major milestone has been achieved with the submission of the Master Plan to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC)

  • Meeting to receive the MOHLTC feedback will take place in early summer 2007
  • Staff have just completed 3 days of planning with the Equipment Consultants reviewing all existing and new equipment requirements for the new hospital

  • Placement of the new hospital on the Grey Gables site has been determined in consultation with Grey County and Grey Highlands - see proposed site plan below - a large jpg file is also available to download

Proposed site plan - New Centre Grey Hospital

(Click image for a larger view)