Quinte Health Care says build new, but keep the hospital where it is
Situated on the east end of Picton before Main Street converges with Highway 49, the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is a precious commodity to the people of the County.
There has been a hospital in Picton for nearly a century: The first Prince Edward County hospital was built in 1918 on Hill Street. When the town of Picton outgrew that location, a new hospital was built in 1959.
But with changes in technology and community needs, the PECMH, now under Quinte Health Care, has reached the end of its life. The province has given preliminary approval for building a new hospital, provided the community support and fundraising is there to help build and populate the new building.
There are details, too, that need to be worked out. Prince Edward County council has advocated for a new hospital to be built on grounds near the HJ McFarland Memorial Home, further from downtown Picton but closer to both the nursing home and the new Wellings of Picton retirement residence.
But a survey and study done by QHC found most want to see the hospital keep its current location.
A steering committee that included physicians from the hospital and members of the Prince Edward Family Health Team held a public meeting and asked for input this spring, with a total of 339 survey results along with about 120 attendees.
The vast majority wanted to see the hospital stay put, citing easier access from town and proximity to the PEFHT as rationales. Many simply didn’t want to see the hospital leave a site that has been its home for almost 60 years.
It was also the preferred location among physicians and QHC staff.
And according to one of QHC’s directors, Susan Rowe, everyone, regardless of site preference, was eager to see work move ahead for a new, improved PECMH.
Yesterday, a recommendation was presented to the board of QHC to do just that. The recommendation is to maintain the current site, building a new, purpose-built structure behind the current hospital. Once the new hospital is built and populated, the current hospital will be demolished to build a larger parking lot.
The board voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.
It’s an important step in a process that will likely not be complete for another decade. Now that recommendation will head to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in the fall for the next step of the capital planning process.