Healthy sum of money for hospitals
By Ian C. Robertson
The Ontario Ministry of Health announced Monday that London area hospitals will be receiving $133 million to help meet the cost of mandatory renovations and restructuring.
The London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph's Health Centre and Parkwood Hospital were granted $112 million by the province to cover 70 per cent of the cost for reforms ordered by the government in the summer, said Lily Weedon, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health. The additional 30 per cent of the total $190 million will be raised locally.
The provincial government will be covering the total $21 million bill for a new forensic mental health facility on the site of the St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital for individuals requiring court ordered mental health care.
The funds, resulting construction and renovations are expected to ease the closing of the health sciences South Street Campus in 1999 and make way for a transfer of 1,800 staff members to the Victoria and University campuses, said board chairperson Kelly Butt.
Sylvia Davis, communications representative for the London Health Sciences Centre, said this significant capital investment from the province will be good not only for the hospitals involved but for all of London.
Although the division of the grant among the London health care community has yet to be announced, renovations are expected to take place at the University campus as well as an expansion in adult emergency and critical care at the Victoria campus.
Davis explained St. Joseph's will receive $70 million of the total sum to cover the cost of overseeing mental health services and low risk obstetrics throughout the area.
A $25 million long-term mental health facility will be built at the Parkwood site but will be operated by St. Joseph's. The biggest change London residents will notice will be the development of increased ambulatory care at the Grosvenor Street site, said Davis.
Health Minister Jim Wilson said by November, in addition to the money announced Monday, London should expect to receive more funds for community care, including home care and rehabilitation services.
This is, however, contingent on the findings of the health services restructuring commission which has been touring the province to decide which hospitals will be restructured, which will merge and possibly close.