I was a milestone day for health care in Prince Edward County. In front of a packed house, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins delivered the news the people of Picton have been waiting years for.
“It’s now time to look into what the county deserves, a new hospital that meets its needs now and for years to come,” said Hoskins.
“That’s why I am pleased to be here today to announce that the Ontario government is providing Quinte Health Care with a planning grant of $500,000 to help definitively plan for the redevelopment of a new Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.”
The funding is strictly for planning. Officials will now design the new facility and determine what services and programs it will include.
“We’re going to have a fully-fledged hospital with 24-7 ’emerge,’ we’ll have inpatient beds, we’ll have appropriate diagnostic services as we need them, and there will continue to be endoscopy surgical services,” said Mary Clare Egberts, President and CEO of Quinte Health Care.
According to Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff, the project has a price tag of roughly $75 to $80 million. He says the plan is to build a brand new facility on the grounds of the current hospital and once the doors open, the old building will be torn down. But before any construction can begin, Quaiff says a lot of money needs to be raised locally.
“We’ve got to raise about $12 million, the municipality has committed a little over a million dollars, there’s been some other agencies that have stepped forward with a million dollars,” said Quaiff. “With this announcement today I can actually see some more support starting to pour in.”
Up until now, the idea of building a new hospital in the county has been followed by a big “if.” But officials are confident it will happen, it’s just a matter of when. The hope is to have shovels in the ground as soon as possible, and if all goes to plan, the new hospital could open in 2024.