Old hospital blues
Picton hospital has to come down
The hospital development in Picton is still years away from breaking ground. But it doesn’t seem that way from the number of people expounding on what it will look like and where it will be located. Theories aside, there is one certainty in this equation. The current hospital building must be torn down.
Built in 1959, Picton Hospital was a modern building for its time. But in the 58 years since its opening, what was then modern is now considered inefficient and expensive. Currently, the building is out of date in every aspect. Windows, doors, insulation, hallway widths, ventilations and washrooms are the start of a long list of things needing to be updated if the building was to live on. It is estimated that work needed to restore and update the building would be nearly the same cost as building a new one from the ground up. Even the way patients are housed is out of date. The old style of shared rooms for overnight patients is an issue for infection control. The current standard is individual rooms with their own bathroom.
“The building does not lend itself to excellent patient care,” says Penny Rolinski, executive director of the Hospital Foundation. “Staff onsite are excellent, and the building lets them down.”
As for the status of the new hospital, it is still in pre-capital phase, which means that they are still determining the volume of emergency services needed in the area, and starting on schematic drawings for the building. The ministry takes these phases very seriously, because it is 100 per cent tax money that will fund this project. One of the reasons that there is a delay moving on to the next phase is that there are currently 20 other hospitals in Ontario vying for support. If it’s any job that the Hospital Foundation has now, it’s convincing the government that the hospital in Picton should float to the top of that list. To do this, they will need the support of the community and they will need to start having conversations with the right people for support financially.
The location of the new hospital is another topic of discussion. The Hospital Foundation has made its recommendations to the government that the new hospital be built directly behind the old hospital. This was land was donated to Quinte Health care by Dr. Desmond Norris, who had worked at for QHC in the past. Another reason that the old hospital must be torn down is the parking issue. With new facilities and slightly more beds, parking is an important concern for the hospital. Currently, the hospital only has one access point in the front of the building. So, when a delivery vehicle and an emergency vehicle are there at the same time, there is no room for anything else at the entrance. The new hospital will have three access points, making it easier to enter the building.
It will be at least two years before a major fundraising campaign begins for the hospital. There are still a few more phases to get through, and more analyzing to be done before they can start asking for money. But anyone interested in supporting the cause early can do so by pledging money. By pledging, the Foundation can count that as money given when they make their next submission to the government.
“It’s all about getting the conversation going, and making connections in the community with interested people,” says Rolinski. “Our biggest hurdle right now is making sure the right information is being shared.”
Be on the look out for future information sharing sessions put on by concerned citizens like Fran Renoy, who has been helping share developments about the hospital with the community.
“We all have to stay positive and work together to make this new hospital happen, otherwise the government may see a lack of support for the project and put it to the back of the line,” says Renoy.
Any information or questions about the new hospital project should be sent directly to the Hospital Foundation. They will be happy to provide the public with correct information and proper timelines.