The province of Ontario is giving Quinte Health Care (QHC) the green light to move into the fourth stage of the planning process for redevelopment of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (PECMH).
“We’re going to build a beautiful new county hospital that’s going to be here to serve generations to come,” says QHC president and CEO Stacey Daub.
The pre-election announcement from the Ontario government means that detailed designs can now be prepared and documents can be finalized to get construction bids.
“Really exciting news. This has been years and years and years in the making to get to this point,” says Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith.
“To be moving on to stage four, which really gets down to the nuts and bolts, and no turning back from this point in time. We know we’re going to have a new hospital here in Prince Edward County in the very near future.”
The new hospital will have a 24-hour emergency department, 18 inpatient beds, a surgical suite and a dialysis unit among other specializations.
“It’s going to mean potentially, with a modern facility, that we’re able to attract new family physicians and new health care staff into the region to work in a brand new facility,” Smith says.
“It’s just going to be a much better environment and, of course, far more comfortable for those who need to stay at the hospital and visit the emergency room.”
PECMH Medical Lead Dr. Sarah Leblanc came to Prince Edward County 12 years ago as a medical student herself.
“I decided to stay and make my home here and career here. I love Prince Edward County, it’s just a wonderful place to work,” Leblanc says. “We’re eager to have other physicians join our team. Having this beautiful facility is only going to help recruit new physicians.”
Smith says Prince Edward County has one of the older populations in Ontario, which needs to be met with the appropriate facilities.
“For the longest time we were sitting in a pretty good spot here with physicians and physician-per-resident ratios, but we’re getting to the point now where we had a few retire or move out of the area and we know that some are going to be retiring in the new future,” he says. “So we need to be able to attract new doctors and new primary health care workers to the region.”
When the new hospital is constructed, the old hospital will be coming down.
“We’re really looking to our community and our partners to likely build this to be a community space,” says Daub. “With gardens, opportunities for people. You know, hospitals are more than health care, they’re really about the health of the community. And I would really love to see the future grounds be a gathering place for people to come and really bring health and wellness to our community.”
Smith says this stage of the project typically lasts between 18 and 24 months, meaning that construction could begin as soon as spring 2024.