Kathleen Wynne welcomes new patient tower at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington

Premier Kathleen Wynne cuts ribbon at grand opening of the new Michael Lee-Chin and Family patient centre at Joseph Brant Hospital. Sara Cain, 900 CHML

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made a stop in Burlington Tuesday morning, to mark the official grand opening of the new patient tower at Joseph Brant Hospital.

“Burlington has changed a lot in 50 years,” Wynne told the crowd, referring to when the hospital first opened its doors, in 1961.”This new, state-of-the-art facility,” she said, “will allow this community to continue to provide the very best in family-centred care.”

The completion of the seven-storey Michael Lee-Chin and Family patient tower brings 172 new beds to the hospital, a new emergency department, operating rooms as well as a new intensive care unit.

The hospital’s president and CEO, Eric Vandewall, anticipates patient wait times will be reduced significantly as a result.

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“Twenty-one thousand additional ambulatory care visits a year, about 3,000 cancer care visits a year, more diagnostic tests and also shortening wait times in our emergency department as well as waiting for an inpatient bed,” he said.

While excited to welcome the new facility, Vandewall is also looking to the future with renovations still ongoing at the existing hospital, known as the North Tower.

The multimillion-dollar project is, in part, he says intended to carry the hospital until another development comes to fruition.

“In many areas, we are able to renovate and in some areas, we can only do a refresh,” he said.

“The design and the architecture and the construction of the old building, it actually isn’t cost-effective to go in and try and do renovations to meet the objectives we’re trying to get in the new patient rooms.”

Vandewall says the goal is to eventually move inpatient beds from the older facility into a new one beside the Michael Lee-Chin patient tower.

Michael Lee-Chin and Family patient tower at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington. Global News

The construction, he says, wouldn’t happen for at least another ten years.

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In the meantime, he said he’s pleased to have a new cutting-edge medical facility that has been designed to provide patients with a”calming environment” through lake views and natural light.

Renovations at the existing hospital are also moving along “on time, on budget,” according to Vandewall, with completion expected sometime in December of 2018.

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