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Hospital rebuild remains top priority

“There’s something very special going on at WLMH and we don’t want to lose it,” MacIsaac

By Stephanie Sisler

The new hospital rebuild remains a top priority.

This was the message from the management teams of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences to Grimsby council on Tuesday night.

Rob MacIsaac took on the role of president and CEO of HHS in
February 2014. He updated council on the partnership between HHS and WLMH.

“I’m so impressed with the dedication and talent of all the folks at HHS,” he said. “This is a place that has a patient-first culture, and that’s one of the great bonds between HHS and WLMH.”

Although still early in the amalgamation process, he feels both organizations will end up stronger because of it.

“There’s something very special going on at WLMH and we don’t want to lose it,” he explained.

Dr. Gary Benson, medical director, WLMH, explained that several clinical priorities have been identified. The team at WLMH and HHS will be working toward better and more efficient access and referral pathways for diagnostic services, improvements to mental health services and patient flow.

“Our emergency department has approximately 25,000 patient visits a year and that’s done in a very tight, cramped space,” Benson explained, adding they will be looking at ways to improve ER patient flow and care.

Kelly Campbell, HHS vice president, corporate services and chief planning officer, assured council and the community that the redevelopment remains a top priority. The community has raised over $14 million for the redevelopment project.

“This money continues to be held in trust and cannot used for any other purpose,” she said. “The redevelopment of WLMH continues to remain a priority not only for this community but for the HHS as well.”

The next step is to work toward a vision that will get the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) attention.

Ald. Joanne Johnston asked the team if and when they see the rebuild happening.

“I don’t like making promises I can’t keep, but what I can promise you is that it is a priority at HHS,” MacIsaac explained. “You have one of Canada’s largest hospitals in your corner, advocating for you but at the end of the day, the MOH determines what happens.”

MacIsaac said the first step in the rebuild process is to come up with a plan and a
vision that will get the MOH’s attention.

Ald. Nick DiFlavio asked about the recent $5.4 million that was given to the WLMH for necessary updates. He said he doesn’t want to see that money spent on upgrades to the current building and then the rebuild not be a top priority because of it.

MacIsaac explained that the money will be used to make critical upgrades, and will not effect the redevelopment.

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