By Rob MacIsaac, President & CEO
With all the celebrations for Canada’s 150th anniversary underway, it’s interesting to note that one of the hospitals in our Hamilton Health Sciences family is older than the country itself – the Hamilton General Hospital opened as City Hospital in 1853.
The General isn’t the only hospital in our family with deep community roots. St. Peter’s Hospital got its start in the late 1800s, and the Juravinski Hospital, formerly known as the Henderson, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Our West Lincoln Memorial Hospital opened back in the 1940s, and even the “baby” of the bunch, McMaster University Medical Centre, is nearing 50 years old.
While each of our facilities has served its purpose well, the passage of time brings changes. That’s especially so in health care, where the way we deliver care has evolved significantly, making many of our old facilities less than ideal for delivering top quality care.
So, when we started to think about the care our community will need in the next 20 years, in the Our Healthy Future planning project, we knew that redeveloping our facilities would have to be a big part of it.
Hamilton Health Sciences is both a community hospital and a regional referral centre serving people across south-central Ontario – and in some cases, the entire province. That’s a lot of people depending on us, and the numbers are only going to grow as our population increases and demographics change.
We’ve crafted a vision of the facilities we think we’ll need, and not surprisingly the footprint looks different than what we have today. For starters, we want to complete the redevelopment that has taken place at the Juravinski and demolish the old wings that date back to the 1930s. This would include creating custom-built space at Juravinski for the programs currently located at St. Peter’s. Increasingly, those patients need to be close to the kinds of medical services we provide at Juravinski. We also envision redeveloping the Hamilton General Hospital and expanding the campus with a new children’s and women’s hospital. And we want to rebuild West Lincoln Memorial Hospital from the ground up.
We’ve crafted a vision of the facilities we think we’ll need…the footprint looks different than what we have today.
These changes would mean that we would operate two large hospital campuses in Hamilton and a community hospital in Grimsby.
These are big and ambitious ideas that echo the exciting renaissance going on in Hamilton today. If we can see this vision to reality, we will have hospitals for the next generation – space that meets modern standards for accessibility, privacy and infection control. These changes will provide the necessary setting for the delivery of excellent care, for teaching the next generation of health professionals, and for world-leading discoveries through research.
There is still a lot of planning, discussion and approvals ahead. Our vision was developed with extensive community consultation, and the conversations continue.