All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Moving to stage 3, the County’s new hospital will be built

On the helipad celebrating the news are Nancy Parks (PECMHF capital campaign co-chair), Dr. Elizabeth Christie (Prince Edward Family Health Team), Mayor Steve Ferguson, MPP Todd Smith, Stuart Wright (QHC board chair), Shannon Coull (PECMHF executive director), Barbara McConnell (PECMHF board chair) and Brad Harrington (QHC VP and Chief Financial Officer). – Sue Capon photo

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith delivered long-awaited official confirmation that a new County hospital will be built in Picton.

Todd Smith

Holding a copy of Al Capon’s book ‘This House of Healing PECMH’ which chronicles the history of the County’s hospitals since 1914, Smith affirmed the next chapter is ready.

“This is a big step today and is the point of no return,” said Smith. “The hospital will be built.”

Behind the hospital, on the ground of the new build location, Smith affirmed the Ontario government’s support and approval to move into the next phase of development.

While 66 people watched virtually through the ‘Zoom’ digital program, Smith told representatives gathered that Minister of Health Christine Elliott has approved the hospital corporation’s Stage 2 work, allowing it to proceed to Stage 3 of 5.

The approval allows QHC to begin detailed planning and design work for the new hospital, which includes 18 in-patient beds (with space for five additional beds), a 24-7 emergency department, diagnostic imaging, a surgical suite, dialysis and ambulatory care.

“Our government recognizes the need to build a modern, full-service hospital for Prince Edward County and we are satisfied by the extensive planning done by Quinte Health Care and the enthusiasm from the community to back the build,” he said. “Today’s approval to begin detailed design work offers terrific momentum to push this project forward toward breaking ground.”

Brad Harrington, QHC’s Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer welcomed the news of the milestone.

“Building a new Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital represents an outstanding collaborative effort reinforced by the unwavering support of this community. Our planning team, comprised of staff, physicians, and community partners, are extremely grateful that the province has given us the green light to move forward,” he said.

Harrington said the next phase allows QHC to examine the layout of the facility closely, considering the overall layout, where rooms will be located, and the functionality of each space.

Barbara McConnell, the Chair of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation described the build – cost estimated to be between $80 to $100 million – as the biggest project the community has ever taken on, and expressed gratitude to the many contributors who brought the redevelopment to its current stage.

She noted community donations so far total more than $11.3 million in pledges toward the $16.5 million necessary to raise. The province pays for the rest.

“We would not be here today celebrating this good news without the help of so many essential partners: QHC’s leadership team, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, the County of Prince Edward, the Prince Edward Family Health Team, the PECMH Auxiliary, our campaign cabinet, our foundation’s board of directors and staff, and most importantly, our donors,” McConnell said. “Every day, we see the powerful ways that our donors have an immediate and lasting effect on the way our community hospital delivers health care.”

She encouraged those who have pledged, or who were waiting for this announcement to pledge, to donate.

“We have a lot of work ahead before our hospital is in place, (expected to be 2025) and with this news, we are eager to get started.”

Dr. Elizabeth Christie, Lead Physician for the Prince Edward Family Health Organization, couldn’t be more pleased.

“I am over-the-moon thrilled, said Christie, who “a few years ago” this month was born in Picton’s hospital. “And I’m so thrilled to think that before the other end of my life, we will have new, state-of-the-art hospital here that we can continue to offer all the services that the people of Prince Edward County, and all our visiting friends, need.”

The whole project, she noted, has been a great collaboration between Quinte Health Care, the foundation, auxiliary, architecture and consulting teams and the physicians of Prince Edward County, who she notes have been involved in every step since the official announcement to begin the decade-long project in 2014.

“Everybody’s been at the table and its been a really positive process to get us to this point. It’s because of that really strong collaboration with all the members of the team; and the ability to flex and understand each other and have open communication that we’ve been able to be so successful. Also, Minister Smith has been tirelessly supportive within the government and through all the changes, ebbs, flows and fiscal constraints.”

In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Christie said it brings it home even more how important it is to have a new hospital.

“This new facility will have all the infection control provisions in place – single rooms, proper hand-washing stations, proper movement of clean and dirty linens and so on that we just don’t have in this facility now.

“We are all really lucky that so far we have managed to avoid a real hit with this pandemic.”

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