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Expansion plan moves ahead

November 26, 2012 – Stevenson Memorial Hospital’s expansion plan has cleared the first hurdle in the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care capital planning process, with an endorsement from the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Board of Directors.

The LHIN Board voted today to support the Pre Capital Submission (Schedule A) project that includes the expansion of the Emergency Department, Operating Rooms, Laboratory and Digital Imaging departments at Stevenson. That support will now be communicated to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC).

“This is a tremendous accomplishment and I believe it reflects the hard work that has been done over the past two years,” said Annette Jones, President and CEO at Stevenson. “The endorsement of the first stage of our project by the LHIN is very good news for the hospital and the community. Further approvals are needed from the Ministry and the LHIN at later stages, however, now that the LHIN is officially behind the expansion project, I believe we have taken a significant step forward in the process.”

Stevenson submitted its Pre-Capital Submission – Part A in respect to the redevelopment project to the LHIN for review last January and endorsement received this week from the LHIN Board of Directors was required in order to move the project forward. The hospital will now complete the Pre-Capital Submission – Part B (Physical and Costs Elements) within the next few weeks, seeking approval from the Ministry.

The current facility, located on Fletcher Crescent, was built in 1964 with a 4,000 square-foot Emergency Department designed to accommodate 7,000 visits per year. In 2012, the number of emergency department visits reached 29,888. That number is expected to top 30,000 visits this year.

Also, the catchment area of Stevenson Memorial Hospital is designated by the Province as an area of high growth both currently and in the future and includes a higher percentage of seniors than other Ontario communities. Growth has a significant impact on Stevenson’s Emergency Department in terms of increasing numbers of patients seeking treatment in the more urgent classification categories.

 “Our community has simply outgrown the aging facility, and it is clear that we have broad public support for both this proposal and the fundraising effort that will be required to make it a reality,” Jones said. “A new Emergency Department continues to be this community’s number one priority,” she added, referring to an extensive period of community engagement conducted by the hospital prior to the Pre-Capital submission.

The Emergency Department is the “most relied upon and essential service” at Stevenson, accounting for over 50 per cent of total visits to the hospital. Other hospital emergency facilities are more than 45 minutes away, and there is no public transit within or between communities. The current population of the catchment area is now greater than 55,000 and is projected to reach 90,000 by 2031.

“Our staff is doing a tremendous job, and through their hard work and minor renovations completed over the past four years to improve patient flow, Stevenson now has the second shortest wait times out of 74 high volume emergency departments across this province," Jones said.  "We are extremely proud of that accomplishment, but we also realize there is simply no more room to expand our ER within the existing building.”