It’s Our Hospital – column 2

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It’s Our Hospital column – as appearing in the County Weekly News on Thursday, February 23, 2017
by John Walker, director on the PECMHF board

Prince Edward County, as Monica Alyea, Chair of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation (PECMHF) recently said, “is a county that is made up of many unique communities that have energy and drive that large cities just crave for “.

A history refresher: Through the support of the Sir Thomas Picton Chapter, Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, and others, the first County Hospital was opened on April 17, 1919, at the George Alcorn House on Hill Street in Picton. Fast forward to our present hospital, and where are we now?

Vibrant communities need a set of pillars that hold them together. One major pillar for the county is that of “Our Hospital” which, if you have been following the local press and the PECMHF news, is on an important journey in its evolution.

An Ontario map can create the illusion that we are close to Trenton and Belleville, so why a new hospital? Well, our present hospital is aging, and is becoming more difficult to keep up to date. Our demographics are changing, and our residents live in many different locations of the county, which has a land mass of over one thousand square kilometers. We are not just a pretty little hamlet; the county has a full time population of over twenty-four thousand, plus we have a growing tourism market.

County folks don’t hold back, and PECMHF has always been and still is supported by a strong base of individual donors. We value our individual donors and the incredible support of local groups such as our Hospital Auxiliary. To get inspired, just take a look at their web site video, talk to the Hospital Auxiliary team, and you will get a true feeling of the commitment they have to our community and our hospital. They are not alone, there are many other vibrant communities and companies like this in the county, who showcase community spirit and work hard in raising funds for the PECMHF.

Our hospital has demonstrated an astonishing ability to adapt to change, including meeting efficiency needs and funding challenges. Facing such conditions, it continues to deliver high quality patient care. We have come to learn that health care is changing. We are embracing the advantages of the Quinte Health Care system of which our hospital is a very important part. We are recognizing that through health care partnerships, integrated health care teams, enabling technologies and consolidation, some independence is possible; however, isolation is not an option.

Exciting times are ahead, and through the leadership and support of many in the county, the hospital is now being slated for a new life. The provincial government is listening  they have given us the opportunity to further demonstrate our needs, and we are now at Stage 1 of an important five-stage approval planning process, and a new hospital vison is surfacing.

So as the PECMHF is gearing up for its important role in our new hospital approval stages, and in reflecting upon the community roots and values that built our first hospital in 1919, what do we need to do? It’s simple. Here in the county we are a strong lot. A new hospital is something we all need. It is a cause where we can all come together for the power of the whole. If we have a strong hospital, we have a stronger community!

….And as Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”

John Walker is a county resident and a member of the PECMH Foundation Board.
For more information, contact the Foundation office at 613 476 1008 x4425 or briar@pecmhf.ca.