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Premier in Picton to announce $8.7M grant for County’s hospital

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, Health Minister Christine Elliott, and (right) QHC board chair David McKinnon applaud Premier Doug Ford’s funding announcement for the County’s hospital.

By Sue Capon
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in Picton Friday with Minister of Health Christine Elliott, and Bay of Quinte MP Todd Smith to announce an $8.7 million grant for planning and design of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

“I’m thrilled to announce that we are making another landmark investment in the future of Prince Edward County,” said Ford. “I’ve been investing in hospitals right across this province from one end of Ontario to the other; today, these investments are your doorsteps.”

The trio met behind the hospital in Picton, on the site for the new build, with invited guests including mayor Steve Ferguson, former mayor and long-time hospital advocate Leo Finnegan, retiring QHC CEO Mary Clare Egberts, QHC board chairman David McKinnon and PECM Hospital Foundation executive director Shannon Coull.

“This is absolutely fantastic news for Picton and all of Prince Edward County,” said Ford. “The construction will also create jobs, help local suppliers and businesses,” and once built, will deliver quality patient-centred care in the community for years to come.

The funding is part of the government’s $27 billion investment over 10 years to build new and expanded hospital infrastructure.

MPP Todd Smith beamed as he acknowledged the passion of members of the community dedicated to having a full-service hospital in the County.

“For over a century the people of Prince Edward County have been dedicated to providing exceptional hospital care for this rural community,” he said, “This hasn’t always been an easy process as I look at Leo Finnegan who has been advocating for this hospital for many years.”

As member of parliament for more than nine years, Smith reminded of multiple town hall meetings, letter-writing campaigns, community fundraising, and collaborative planning led by Quinte Health Care “to ensure that we have a state-of-the-art hospital to replace this 61-year-old facility.”

Smith noted the hospital build is of crucial importance as council plans services for a community with a median age 13 years higher than the provincial average, and one that sees its summer population skyrocket as tourists take in the County’s beaches, wineries, art and local businesses.

“A vibrant hospital is an important economic driver, and more importantly it offers peace-of-mind that residents will get the best and most appropriate care close to home.”

He noted it also keeps the most acute, regional hospitals in Belleville, Trenton and Kingston well positioned to treat those who need more specialized care.

“I’m excited that this $8.7 million investment will put us on the right path to address hallway healthcare in this community. And with the help of the Prince Edward Family Health Team and the doctors there and other valued front-line staff, meet our health care needs throughout the COVID pandemic and beyond. I know this community will share our confidence and rally around Quinte Health Care, along with the Hospital Foundation, to back this build.”

Minister Elliott also thanked the staff and leadership at Quinte Health Care “for incredible and ongoing efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “These are unprecedented times for all of us. But when this unprecedented virus swept across the world, our doctors, nurses and health care workers showed us the depth of their compassion, and their commitment to protecting us, and keeping us all safe.

“I do want to extend my deepest appreciation to all the staff, physicians, nurses and volunteers at Quinte Health Care for their tireless efforts to deliver exceptional care to your patients.”

She also congratulated Egberts on her upcoming retirement for “her leadership demonstrated, not only during your time as president and CEO of Quinte Health Care, but throughout your nearly 30 year career in the health services sector.”

The new hospital is to include six additional in-patient beds, bringing the total to 18 private rooms, with the ability to expand to 23 beds for future capacity. It also includes a larger, 24/7 emergency department, modern surgical suites, dialysis treatments and diagnostic imaging; and outpatient care services including minor surgical procedures, such as endoscopies.

The design of the new hospital project procurement is expected to begin in 2021. Development follows, with opening expected by 2025.

QHC board chair McKinnon noted that though technology has changed since the County’s first hospital was built in 1919, the passion of the community for health care, has not.

“The pandemic has been an earthquake for hospitals,” he said, acknowledging the efforts of all staff, including those in the back offices, and physicians, “in dealing with the problems resulting from the pandemic – including, especially, managing the increased stress experienced by all.”

“They have faced these problems with conviction, ingenuity and adaptability. Our community, like others across the province, has really stepped up to show their appreciation to our healthcare team. They have been sewing masks, donating funds, offering food and other necessities. Our partners have been ready and willing to work with us in this very challenging environment.”

Premier Doug Ford with Mayor Steve Ferguson, Health Minister Christine Elliott, MPP Todd Smith and QHC Board Chair David McKinnon.

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    I have no problem stating that I do not like Doug Ford – but I am happy to see him here in Picton to make a great announcement for our hospital – so thank you Mr. Premier for doing your job. However, I do wonder what this announcement means when taking into consideration the recent TV and radio ads by the Ontario Nurses Association – stating that the government is laying off nurses during this pandemic?? What’s the point of having a new hospital without nurses? The last time Ford was in Picton was to announce “Buck-A- Beer” – I hope this announcement has more substance than that one did.

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