It’s Our Hospital – column 18

briar boyceUncategorized

It’s Our Hospital
By Fran Donaldson, Vice-Chair of PECM Hospital Foundation
We’re all looking forward in great anticipation to realizing our goal of: a new hospital in Picton (by 2025?!?). Based on the recommendations in the feasibility study (conducted by an experienced and highly recommended firm), we are now taking another important step by hiring a campaign manager. The ads, which ran in local newspapers and on professional websites, brought some very interesting candidates. The two most promising applicants were interviewed by our Executive Director Penny Rolinski, Foundation Chair Monica Alyea, Director Sue Law and me, while Director Lillian Duffy, a retired professional fund-raiser, checked the candidates’ references, and Foundation Secretary Donald Wakefield drew up the contract in consultation with Director Ken Menlove. It was a great team effort, as we are very aware that we are making decisions for the community, not ourselves. The choice was not easy, but we did reach consensus and our new campaign manager reports for work this week. She is a local resident, very enthusiastic, highly recommended and with excellent fund-raising skills. We are very pleased to welcome Marthe Robertson to the Foundation.

Last week we also had the privilege of a presentation addressing questions that are often asked: Why do we need a new hospital anyway? Why can’t the existing one be renovated? Two reasons that have often been mentioned: 1) All the educated estimates agree it would cost more to renovate than to build. 2) It would be impossible, given the age and condition of the existing hospital, to bring it up to the standards required (air quality, patient safety, new technology, etc.) to see us well into the future. (Another 50+ years?)

But, taking another perspective, our guest, Sherry Tait, put it bluntly in her presentation, New is Best. Sherry is retired from a 40-year career in construction and engineering, including work on several hospitals, such as Kingston General Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “The human cost is, by far, the biggest cost associated with renovating a hospital”, said Sherry. Her first-hand experience (at Lennox and Addington Hospital in Napanee) confirmed: “The human disruption was the most problematic and costly. Every period (being daily, weekly or random) the physical aspects of the facility changed”, said Sherry. “Not only did personnel have to do their jobs, they had to adapt to new locations and, often, less than ideal conditions.”
Sherry concluded that NEW IS BEST because “a newly built hospital will:
• be less expensive monetarily and less disruptive to personnel and services
• be fully finished and commissioned, tested and certified with little to no disruption of services in the existing building
• be laid out in the best and most efficient manner with proper flow and relationships between departments
• have all new state-of-the-art systems with expansion capabilities and substantial warranties.”

And in terms of human cost, let’s not forget the obvious: the discomfort, inconvenience and real danger to the patients who would have to endure the disruptive and noisy conditions of construction. Let’s keep hoping and working for a NEW hospital!

As a member of the PECMH Auxiliary, Sherry now sits on the hospital redevelopment committee. Thank you, Sherry!

For more information about the Foundation and upcoming events, or to learn how you can help, please contact Penny or Briar in the Foundation Office at (613) 476-1008 ext. 4503 or 4425 or visit