It’s Our Hospital – column 31

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IT’S OUR HOSPITAL

By Fran Donaldson, Vice Chair, PECM Hospital Foundation

Last week the Executive Director of the Foundation, Penny Rolinski, made a presentation to the Municipal Council. All the councilors were present, and recognizing the importance of the topic to the community, they kindly agreed to extend the time usually allowed for such presentations. The councilors showed their interest by their many questions. Penny was introduced by Foundation Chair Monica Alyea, who had a drawing of the planned new building, accurately describing the hospital as “the heart of the community”. Also in attendance was Bill Andrews, Quinte Health Care’s Director of Capital Development, who was on hand to help answer questions.

Penny’s presentation was titled “The Future for Healthcare in Prince Edward County”, and focused on the importance of a new building, the advantages to the community, and the need to raise money.

The hospital building we have now is…old. Built in 1959, it was not designed for the equipment and facilities we now have, and is structurally below modern standards for safety and infection control. Renovating it would be hugely expensive; the new hospital will be different and better. For example, all patient services (except dialysis) will be on the ground floor – more convenient for patients and visitors, and much more efficient for medical staff. Every patient (even those in shared rooms) will have a private washroom – an important factor in preventing spread of infections.

You may have heard about the challenge of attracting doctors to the area. Well, as Penny put it, if you were a doctor wouldn’t you prefer to work in a clean, attractive, efficient state-of-the-art modern facility? And people coming to the County as tourists or looking to move here permanently will certainly appreciate a new hospital – about 20 000 patients visit the emergency department in a year! Furthermore, a new hospital will be more than a convenience; it will also be an important part of the local economy. Over 800 County residents are currently employed in the health care sector, and a hospital is vital for them. As the population increases, these numbers and the need will also increase.

So if a new hospital is necessary and advantageous, what is there to worry about? Of course, it’s the cost. Even a small rural hospital will cost millions of dollars. Most of the building costs (for example, 90% of the hard cost of construction) will be paid by the provincial government. But the local community must pay a share of planning and building expenses and all of the depreciable equipment (currently estimated to total over $12 million dollars), while we also continue to maintain the equipment in our present hospital.

What we must do now – and for the next several years – is continue to demonstrate that the community is ready to support the plan. How? Well, one way is to pledge support. The Hospital Auxiliary has pledged a MILLION DOLLARS and already has half that amount in the bank! And the Wellington Rotary Club is doing a great job with creative projects to raise money for the new hospital. Another way is to support the current equipment needs. As Penny said to Council, one of the easiest things is to become a monthly donor. Even small amounts add up and show that we care about OUR HOSPITAL – THE HEART OF HEALTH CARE IN THE COUNTY.

For further information about our monthly donor program you can call Penny at 476 1008 ext. 4503, Briar at ext. 4425, or Marthe at ext. 4502, or you can or visit our website at www.pecmhf.ca.