We are thrilled to report that Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman visited Markdale May 4th to announce a $3 million grant to Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) to support detailed planning for a new Centre Grey Hospital. “The reality is that Markdale needs a new hospital,” he said in making the announcement. “About this there’s no doubt whatsoever.”
In his remarks Mr. Smitherman acknowledged strong support from local MPPs, and municipal government for the hospital project, but “especially that breadth of love that’s coming in the $13 million bucks or so that all of you have poneyed up to make this hospital a reality.”
“One of the things we’ve got to get done before we can announce a new hospital is a whole bunch of detailed planning and design work. I’m not here today to tell you when we’re putting a shovel in the ground, but I am here to tell you I’m bringing $3 million so we can get on with doing the important detail work.
Plans call for the new hospital to be constructed on a site adjacent to Grey Gables on Highway 10 in Markdale. GBHS officials are already discussing the planning process with the Ministry, and project planning will begin as quickly as possible. Planning will also address integration with other health care services. Hospital Campaign Chair Dr. Hamilton Hall will also chair the project steering committee. He says that integration is the right approach.
“I enjoyed chairing the hospital campaign tremendously and I believe that its success was a major factor in convincing the Ministry of Health that our community is serious about access to care locally. What I have learned through this process is that health care in our community is about more than our new hospital. It’s about connecting our hospital to long term care, about ensuring that mental health services are linked to the care provided by our family physicians and its about having the right equipment and facilities for our doctors and staff to provide care when care is needed and to support the recruitment of new staff.
Dr. Harvey Winfield, Chief of Staff at Centre Grey Hospital, agrees. “We need doctors to help us carry the load. We are out there recruiting for new doctors all the time but we didn’t have much to offer them about the future. The planning grant will help us to encourage doctors to think about practising here.”
The future for the hospital proposal is looking bright, says Dr. Hall. “We’re grateful to the government for its support of this project. We know we have the government, local municipalities, our MPPs and the community behind us. We’re ready to get started.”