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Building a new hospital ensures there will be a hospital in Prince Edward County

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PECMH Communications Co-ordinator Briar Boyce showed an old uniform from the hospital’s auxiliary, and a concept for the new hospital “campus”.

Supporters of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital presented and promoted solidarity at Friday morning’s official confirmation of the commitment to begin what is expected be a decade-long project to build a $50 million hospital.

“We’re committed to building a new hospital in Prince Edward County,” said Steve Blakely, chairman of the QHC Board of Directors.

He noted there has been a lot of years, and of a lot of fighting by a lot of people over saving the hospital. “And we appreciate that. The tenacity, and the passion that people have in this County for their hospital is just overwhelming. And it’s people like you that make a difference.”

He said the current 50-plus year-old hospital’s facilities don’t meet today’s standards for building codes and infection control. A retrofit, he said, would cost about 90 per cent of what the cost is for a new hospital “and then we wouldn’t reap the benefits of care that you would with a new hospital.” He said QHC has been working on plans for the new hospital for the past seven years.

Last April, almost 200 citizens boarded four buses to rally for their hospital at Queen’s Park.  Spokesman Leo Finnegan handed over a petition signed by 5,520 citizens, to local MPP Todd Smith, to present in the legislature.

It outlined the history of the hospital from its financially responsible state in 1998 as a full service, 42-bed facility, funded and built by County residents, service groups and practitioners, through its forced amalgamation with hospitals in Belleville, Trenton and Bancroft and to its decline over the past 15 years.”

Over last summer, Health Minister Deb Matthews refused de-amalgamation; Picton lost its maternity ward and the beds were reduced to 12. Two young physicians left the County for Kingston, citing downsizing of services and fundraising had dropped by 50 per cent.

The Ministry of Health covers 90 per cent of the construction costs. The remaining 10 per cent, ancillary costs plus 100 per cent of equipment costs must come from community fundraising.

“The community has built itself a hospital twice before, and the time has come to do it again,” said Dr. Elizabeth Christie, president of the Prince Edward County Family Health Team, and long-time strong advocate of the hospital and its services.

“Building a new hospital is the way that we’ll ensure that we have a hospital in the County for a long time to come, into the future… “As part of our commitment the Family Health Team is in the process of developing its own new facility that will be located right next to the new hospital. This model of a health care campus will create a fantastic opportunity for the Family Health Team, the hospital and the various community services to collaborate even more and make access to services even easier for our patients.”

Leo Finnegan, president of the PECMH Foundation, said the endeavour of bringing a new hospital to this requires pulling together “and we’ve got to pull in the same direction, and that direction is forward.

Though the current hospital has served us well, he said, it lacks the capacity to be upgraded to meet standards, such as in infection control.

“I have read the studies that assess the potential to upgrade the current building and I believe the way is to go forward – to put forward the full power of our convictions into a new hospital that will meet the needs of our residents today, and into the future.”

Of the $40 million cost estimate, the community’s share will be $12 million. It’s the hospital foundation’s job and mission to lead the effort, tackling the task in stages. A $4 million brick and mortar campaign will be followed by fundraising for medical equipment and other needs.

“It’s interesting to note that $4 million in today’s dollars is significantly less than the same amount of money the community raised in 1959 dollars when we built the current hospital.

Finnegan’s request to the jam-packed audience of people “who have special interest in the ongoing presences of our hospital in this community. I would like to ask that when you leave here you become good news ambassadors for this campaign to build a modern, up-to-date hospital in the County. I’ll even go so far to say that if you’re interested in being part of the solution, that you join our volunteer core.”

“Before there was ever OHIP, before there was ever QHC, the hospital auxiliary has been fundraising and helping to comfort and provide services to patients and their families,” said Peggy Payne, president of the PECMH Auxiliary, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. “Our volunteers are one of the greatest reservoirs of energy and common sense in the County. The auxiliary was proud to pledge $1 million toward the building of a hospital for Prince Edward County. It may take a decade to build, but we will be there.”

MPP Todd Smith said he was pleased to see a clear direction by people moving forward in one direction following more than two years of mix messages of saving, or maintaining, or building a new hospital.

He said he hoped to help see the County move the process forward, but warned he had just heard moments ago that the NDP were not supporting the Liberal budget, so an election will be called soon.

“As a former news director, I just love ‘breaking the news’ however, I can tell you that if I have the opportunity I will let the ministry of health know that the leaders of Prince Edward County are united in what direction they want their health care to go…. It’s so important for Prince Edward County – a retirement destination – for people to move from the bigger centres to retire and enjoy life in the County. One of the most important parts of getting out of the rat race in the city and finding a place to retire, is appropriate and functional health care in the community. I think with this vision presented today, that will become a reality.”

Mayor Peter Mertens acknowledged the work and the collaboration by all participants over the past six or seven months.

“I’m totally impressed with the willingness of all parties to sit down at the table and to discuss the needs of the County and the needs of the residents and come up with solutions for health care for the future… I think those in Prince Edward County are the innovators in health care – the alliance and the health team are noted across the province for their  ability to meet the needs of people here.”

Building a new hospital is a huge task and requires the support of all partners, but more importantly it requires the support of the residents of this County. Once people realize it has become a top priority for all of us, it will make the work that much easier… I encourage all of our residents to wholeheartedly support this. Be vocal in terms of your support. Be vocal in terms of your contributions – whether it’s in kind, whether it’s with your energy or whether it’s your dollars. The County has demonstrated on many different occasions, that when something important for all of our residents is needed, they come to the table every single time.”

Paul Huras, CEO of the South East Local Health Integration Network, said after the plan is finalized, it will be presented to the Ministry of Health. He said the LHIN will provide updates every two months to residents.

“For 95 years we’ve had a rich heritage of fine health care in Prince Edward County and the core of it has been our hospital,” said Finnegan. “We’ve said our first ‘hello’ to newborns, we’ve said our goodbyes to beloved family and friends. We’ve walked through its doors in time of sickness, sadness, and joy. Our hospital has always been there for us, and now it’s time for us to be there for it.”

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  1. IM Messenger says:

    You know when they’re lying, when they’re lips are moving. I believe not a word they’re saying. All scoundrels and mad dogs in the race.

    Being in politics at the top must have its big payoff, where honesty and integrity goes begging and humanity is left dying on the fringes.

    This is what capitalism is about – more jobs, more pollution, more money, more power, more corruption, more control over the 98%, more sufferance, more need for a voluminous public voice that speaks together as a multitude for change before the military police force silences this right (democratic way).

    This seems to be the only way Gov’ts will listen. We are not there yet as far as the little hospital with the little voice is concerned. Look at the issue where greater numbers of ppl would gather to speak for a hospital, turbines, hunger, housing, children’s safety, non-GMO food and banning of insecticides to save the bees, and further save our planet and what is the result?

    Civilization is disintegrating to a point of no return. A collective voice is all we have.

    Perhaps a time for another protest vote! Albeit, with robo-calls in the mix. Talk about manipulations and machinations with their scheming, crafty action, and artful design intended to accomplish something evil towards humanity.

    We are but yet, a peaceful and gentle ppl.

  2. Marnie says:

    The politicians are at their best on the campaign trail. After the election it’s a different story.

  3. Paul says:

    You know its election time cause the Politicians are promising everyone can have their cake and eat it too…

  4. Paul says:

    I won’t believe we’re getting a New Hospital until shovels are in the ground and even when that happens it will still be questionable ..

  5. Mark says:

    Well you say you are respectful of others in the municipality and then you close stating you can’t say the same for an aspiring politician from elsewhere. Elsewhere meaning the County. So North Marysburgh, Picton, Hallowell, Hillier and Wellington who all have councilors from “elsewhere” are represented by untrusted politicians. Tier one is County government and each councilors decision affect us all, not just your little piece of the County.

    Now back to the hospital.

  6. MI says:

    As a lifelong resident of the County, I am respectful of others throughout the municipality and their interests. White-washing all of the people in Prince Edward to be the same? Please!! Trying to eliminate the history, the personalities, and not recognizing of the generations of families in these areas, is indicative of people who have no history here. Otherwise they must be so arrogant to think that their opinions are the only important ones. I think you must be the person who pulled their car right out in front of mine today, because your time is more important than mine.
    Just for the record, I know my neighbor in my township will be interested in what our concerns are. We cannot say the same about the aspiring politician from elsewhere who you think is the best (though your criteria to determine this is probably more right than mine).

  7. Mark says:

    SE LHIN = SouthEast Local Health Integration Network.

  8. IM Messenger says:

    Quote:
    “We don’t need special interests”

    I agree we don’t need em. However, we DO have ’em. And each one defines us as a County, a lifestyle, and character.

    And as diverse as each ward is it is the nature of PEC. to have specific issues for each one or each area. Besides, down the road in 8-10 yrs.(?) when Hastings Co. and the Gov’t require us to amalgamate into one electoral boundary this will be another step in eventually reaching that Gov’t goal.

    And then where will the strings attach to the newly built hospital.

  9. IM Messenger says:

    Quote:
    ” Each area of Prince Edward is unique and has it’s special interests. How would someone living close to Belleville or Trenton understand how the people of South Marysburg feel about anything? ”

    [How would someone … understand how the ppl… feel]
    They would read the “South Marysburg Mirror” newsletter, of course. What role could you take in making sure the rest of the county receive, read or at least become aware of the news?

    Communication is how anyone would understand how ppl in another ward feel. Also, take part in any ward’s peaceful protest ie: telephone and email campaigns targeting councilors on a specific issue.

    Criticizing the belly button separates us all. Every person in PEC is part of the whole. Dividing us with such bias as ppl who live north, east, south, and west will have its firestorm. Divide and conquer is a strategy to be applied elsewhere. Is this phenomena a product of design created to silence the larger voice of the ppl in the county?

    In the reverse:
    The comment begs the question as to how much South Marysburg knows about what is happening in the northern wards of the county.

    Do you know from which ward the numbers of ppl are:
    – who sit in Shire Hall, who listen to the issues for all wards including S.Marysburg and give comment of concern.
    – or who sign the petitions that effect decisions for all wards, including S.Marysburg.
    – who present deputations that challenge Shire Hall with pertinent issues for all wards, including …

    Apply your passion, take the issue about “serving the ward you live in” to council via deputation or further, get your councilor to put it forward instead of sparking a situation that potentially divides us.

    The acronym: SE LHIN ?
    Please define meaning for every reader.
    thx.

  10. Mark says:

    I disagree. It would be better to get rid of old townships, villages and towns as electoral wards. We don’t need special interests. Pick the best 8 candidates County wide and a mayor. But no need to rehash this as it is water under the bridge.

    The SE LHIN administers health care services in this region. If not them someone has to undertake this mammoth role. Maybe Hudak will let us know his plan like when his party amalgamated hospitals!

  11. MI says:

    With elections coming, I believe we should find individuals who will truly represent their constituents both municipally and provincially. The first place we need our voices heard , is in the County. Am I the only person who believes that Councillors being elected in townships outside of where they live,is just WRONG? Each area of Prince Edward is unique and has it’s special interests. How would someone living close to Belleville or Trenton understand how the people of South Marysburg feel about anything? I propose that we have a referendum on the ballots voting on whether new candidates for council (not those looking to be re-elected), will need to live in the township the are running for office in. This will naturally apply to the following election, but if it’s not done now…
    It is time for real representation and accountability without questionable agendas.

  12. Wolf Braun says:

    ” Hudak’s Tories have said they would dissolve the LHIN’s but didn’t tell us how they would run health care.”

    When Hudak declared he would dissolve the LHINs he also said he would replace them with staff working at the same number (13?) of local hospitals to ensure that input from the public on health care was being continued. So what he was saying when eliminating the SE LHIN he would move that budget to either Kingston or Belleville hospital where staff would continue doing LHIN work — whatever work that it is they do. Net saving – possibly rent and some staff. Not much of a change.

  13. Doris Lane says:

    tHE County has no money–the province has no money and tsx payers in the county are broke with taxes we cannot give to anything else with hospice etc everyday we are asked to contribute to something
    how about our grocery bill

  14. Mark says:

    I am very suspicious of this announcement. It is not confirmed by the Ministry. Early polls have a Liberal minority which is no change. Hudak’s Tories have said they would dissolve the LHIN’s but didn’t tell us how they would run health care. Political as you can get. At the end of the day you don’t build a new hospital and invest those $$ in a bankrupt province when you have already moved all significant services to Belleville. Me thinks we are being played!

  15. Wolf Braun says:

    ” Hey Wolf there is nothing wrong with the existing hospital. ” – Jack Smith

    I never said otherwise Jack. It just needs ongoing maintenance like any other building. As to “infection control” … bit of a red herring on QHC’s part.

    As to progress… well, I think I’ve said enough on that and hardly believe I can drag you or anyone else somewhere you don’t wish to go. 🙂

    “What do the people-POOCH really say about all this distraction away from their real wish?” – sanmc

    I left P.O.O.C.H. last year. Like you I have no knowledge of what they have been doing or saying. They seem to have dropped off the radar. They shut down their website and have virtually nothing to say on social media. Having said that I did catch a glimpse of two P.O.O.C.H. executive members in attendance at this announcement event. CKWS has the footage.

  16. sanmc says:

    Hard to make a sensible comment after reading what thoughts bring some reality. Promise of a NEW hospital and pay the punishment for whining about it in the first place with rising PEC tax dollars to boot. A repeat of the same old theme. Bottom line: I thought we were marching to get an independent hospital like Napanee cutting the ties. Are they scaring us with Big Bucks in costs, to keep us co-dependent. What are they afraid about, our wish for independence. What do the people-POOCH really say about all this distraction away from their real wish?

    Tourism is here to stay. Industries around tourism are water-slides, ski slopes, and Cirque du Soleil, etc. (God forbid) and vineyards by the rich. Essroc Centre built for tourism, we are still paying for it.

    The young people have always left in the past and will continue to do so. They want off the island when they spread their wings to fly. Why would they come back to no jobs, of course to retire. Or how about they bring their jobs with them for the tourism, bookstores, restaurants. This is the theme.

    Tourists are not planning to use the hospital much but, yes a clinic will do, long enough to get a cast on and a trip back home to recover in their own hospital, or own home.

    Are we the only few who see thru this?

  17. Ashley says:

    While I don’t live in PEC, to me its quite obvious why this us happening. They have insinuated the current hospital is not up to code as far as infection control. If that’s the truth then the WHO would have made the ultimatum to either close the hospital, build new or update the old. If the cost to build new is 90% the cost of a new hospital then might as well just go new…but the timeline is off if that’s the case. Sounds more like they’re expecting the hospital to be closed anyways…

  18. Marnie says:

    Good points Jack. Young people here find it difficult to afford a home. Real estate soared when newcomers arrived willing to pay a bundle for properties that were real bargains to them after big city prices. The grape growers drove real estate up when they started paying stupid prices for farm land that was once a fair price. Sure we have lots of trendy new eateries, all of them geared to the well-to-do not the average county folk with ordinary jobs and a modest income. We are now a playground for those with lots of money.Look at some of the new condo developments. If you are a wealthy Torontonian you can afford a condo. No one is building realistically priced apartment units that retired local couples could afford to rent. All that is available to them are cramped apartments with few amenities.

  19. Jack Smith says:

    Marnie, that is why a lot of young people are going out west. This is sad. And for a new hospital- Why? The closing of beds. cutting of staff. It makes no sense. All I can figure that the rich that live here now and the ones that continue moving here are the ones that will benefit while the rest of us that have lived here for decades will have to move because it is getting to expensive. All Prince Edward County will become is a retirement for the RICH.

  20. Mark says:

    Industry is bailing out of this province as fast as they can because of energy costs, taxes and wages. They are leaving the heartland of Ontario so don’t hold your breath on industry landing in little old Prince Edward. We are a playground, that’s what we wanted and that’s what we got. We even have the fruit of the loom logo to market it. A 12 million community fundraiser will be a tough sell to replace a first aid station.

  21. Jack Smith says:

    Hey Wolf there is nothing wrong with the existing hospital. Seemed to work okay through out other years with no problems. Industry we had before like Bata Shoe, Canning Factories etc.. It all work out o.k. It is just another way to waste our hard tax dollars. I think a lot of people are worried just what they can get for these rich people that want to retire here and the heck with the people that have lived here for years. Let me tell you a lot of these rich folks are finding out that it is getting kind of expensive to live here in the County with high taxes etc. Now oput that in your little book of thoughts.

  22. Wolf Braun says:

    How can you attract viable industry Jack without a vibrant hospital ?

  23. Jack Smith says:

    Forget about the Hospital, it isn’t going to happen. Why doesn’t the County spend money on getting some industry here for the young people. We are losing them. For those that think the Tourist Industry will save us, maybe 10 years ago or better it might of worked but not now, I’ve been there. Tourist’s come here but they are not spending like they use to. I have lived in this County for 55 years and this is the worst I have seen it. Get some industry that is going to keep this County busy all year around and the local people can buy from existing businesses that are already here so they can make a profit and survive in the off seasons. 🙂

  24. Marnie says:

    Why become excited over a new hospital that is unlikely to offer even the limited services of the one we have now. If we are so debt-ridden why the need for new construction? Surely the many empty rooms at the existing hospital could be used to accommodate the Family Health Team and related health care services. The ER was renovated not that long ago and the dialysis clinic is relatively new.

    Is the promise of a new hospital supposed to make us forget what happened to the old one? Is it going to restore the services we lost? It’s just a red herring designed to draw attention away from what happened to our hospital. Those who are excited about it are incurable optimists.

  25. Wolf Braun says:

    I hate to sound cynical but whenever a PR person is involved with an announcement you can be sure that this is a project that won’t materialize for a decade or more. This seems more like an event to “lower the noise” on our beloved PECMH. There are just too few details.

    We don’t know very much at this stage. For instance, will they chose a construction company that uses the design-build method? They should since this differs from traditional construction because the architect and general contractor are from one company. Not so easy to find in Canada. Easier in the U.S.. When the two are from different companies the costs are much higher…. almost intolerable.

    Estimated 40 Million? The average cost increases right now are about 2 to 3 percent annually. That means the 40 million could skyrocket by the time a shovel is in the ground. Then of course there will be thousands spent on “study plans”. And, if the City is expected to pitch in dollars that will drag the process out even longer. Between now and when a shovel hits the ground the City may have seen 3-4 different Mayors on this project.

    Again, I don’t like to sound cynical but it is the LHIN and QHC we’re seeing front and centre in this announcement. Looks more like PR than reality ! Hope I’m wrong. 🙂

  26. Jan says:

    If the Conservatives get elected, you can kiss any chance of a new hospital good bye! It’s doubtful if it will ever materialize anyway. The only party that cares for the little guy is the NDP. The other 2 parties are out for big business and making the rich – richer!!

  27. Mark says:

    Ontario is a slave to debt! Most do not understand how severe it really is. I don’t want to piss on the parade but I have no confidence you will see this new Hospital. For those that believe ask the candidates, when? Good luck with that answer. Lieing Liberals and Hypocryte Conservatives that deregualted Ontario Hydro and indebted us with amalgamations. Who can you trust? Well I guess the tax and spend socialist NDP. Lol. What a mess.

  28. IM Messenger says:

    Doesn’t read like the hospital the fight was about: a de-amalgamated one under PEC’s control, independent from gov’t cuts and hospital machines being snatched. Or will it still be in the hands of death slayers.

    A backdoor deal? Nothing being said for weeks and now this strange announcement without details. To have a hospital is better than not having one but at what cost, at what sacrifice. Really! Like being in bed with the enemy.

    All gov’t parties have 2 agendas. One when they are not in power and another when they are. The deck is stacked against us not matter who gets elected. The gov’t is bought and paid for by lobbyists and Corps. Debt is the bottom line. Either get yourself out of debt and stay out or accept to be a slave to it.

  29. Marnie says:

    I think you are right, Mark and Gary, and it’s a scary thought.

  30. Mark says:

    The Province is 280 Billion in debt. Ontario is comparable to the bankrupt Greece. It is like a household living off credit cards. The pain will come very soon. The debt is unsustainable! And both the Tories and Grits created this terrible financial mess. People seem oblivious to the seriousness. I am well aware and as I said before people with $$ will leave this province in droves when the hammer drops.

  31. Gary says:

    The Conservative leader Hudak said he was getting rid of the LHIN’s. He says a lot so it will be interesting if he gets in who or how will run health care!

  32. Marnie says:

    Yes, Doris, we remember when the “care” really was in health care. Doctors made house calls and covered for one another on weekends and holidays. They did not pack their patients off to the ER for small procedures. No wonder the place is always crowded. It has become the catch basin for all the patients that once were treated right in the doctor’s office. Today it’s all about making referrals. Patients get 10 minutes each these days and it is necessary to talk fast. There was a time when family doctors actually visited with their patients during an office call. That time is past and in a few more years no one will even remember it.

  33. Doris Lane says:

    Marnie I think you have been around the county as long as I have. We didn’t worry about hospitals so much we had doctors who made house calls. One night my Father had a stroke and Dr Hart cams to the house and gave him injections and sat with him for several hours and then we put him to bed, He said he might not make it until morning and it was best not to move him. 20 some years later he was still alive.

  34. Marnie says:

    Exactly, Doris. We have reached the point where we are almost afraid to become sick for we know we will be shuffled to a hospital outside our home community. Virtually nothing can be done for us locally. The Family Health Team was supposed to showcase a system whereby our records could be accessed with our consent by physicians other than our own. I have recently had an up close and personal experience with our health care system and have discovered that the left hand does not know what the right is doing. This wonderful new system does not ensure that all of the doctors we see will be up to speed in regards to our medical history. The four or five doctors that I saw did not seem to be looking at the big picture. Some had read certain parts of my records, but not others. One out-of-town doctor was certain he had seen me only a short time ago. I had never before been his patient. It was surreal. We should all be afraid – very afraid.

  35. Doris Lane says:

    QHC does not care a flip about PEC. Someone wrote awhile ago that they have a great PR man. The government is just taking us to the cleaners. In 10 years time a lot of us will be dead and in the meantime we have to find someone to look after us if we get sick. The caregivers of the future are the family. Maybe it would be better if we treated the old and ailing like we do our animals

  36. Marnie says:

    It makes no sense that they would build a new hospital with the intention of accommodating more than a token number patients when they have already reduced our existing hospital to a band-aid relief station. Are they going to restore all of the services that they have stripped away? Not likely. Why is everyone so excited about the new hospital? Probably it will offer even less than we have available to us at present. We should be suspicious, not excited. If they are here from the government they are not here to help us. When will we ever learn?

  37. Mark says:

    I don’t understand what is going on here. Spend 50 – 60 million for a new hospital that has had it’s services stripped to the bone. Something doesn’t add up.

  38. Doris Lane says:

    What do we do between now and when a new hospital is built–not need health care I guess

  39. Fran Renoy says:

    As usual Countylive has provided excellent coverage of the announcement of a new hospital for Prince Edward County. Administrator Sue Capon not only quoted the speakers that were part of this announcement she provided the residents with a brief history of what has transpired since 1998 with respect to our local hospital, PECMH.

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