It’s Our Hospital – column 24

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By Fran Donaldson, Vice Chair, PECM Hospital Foundation

Last year ended on a positive note. December was a very good month for the Foundation because so many people responded to our Christmas appeal. Thanks to your generosity, we will be able to fund the purchase of software required for the endoscopy clinic, and also fulfill our share of the payment for the MRI already installed at Belleville Hospital and used by many patients from the County.

In fact, it is one of the important benefits that we enjoy as one of the four hospitals that make up Quinte Health Care (QHC): from the moment we agree to fund the required equipment, the process begins; the items are purchased, delivered and installed – all while we are still raising the money to pay for them. We are invoiced only when the equipment is in use, and then we pay when we are able.

The generosity of the community is important for another reason too. We are at a very critical juncture in the hospital redevelopment project. The plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care (by QHC, with support from the South East Local Health Integration Network), with all required documents included, and follow-up questions answered. Now we wait while the plans are scrutinized to determine if the project will move to the next stage. The government’s approval process is not simple, taking into consideration the details and estimated costs of the project.

A critically important question concerns the community’s ability and willingness to pay our share, about 10% of the total cost of the project. This means we need to be ready to invest about $13 million over the coming years, in addition to the cost of “business as usual” at our existing hospital. You may be sure that our current activities and efforts will be noticed.

If $13 million sounds like a tall order, well, it is. But as Leo Finnegan says, “We’ve done it before; we can do it again!” Of course, “before” was in a different time. Indeed, it was100 years ago, during World War One, that the corporation was formed in Picton leading to the opening of the first hospital the following year. Now wouldn’t it be a sweet way to celebrate the 100th anniversary if we were to get the approval for our new hospital this year?!? It could happen.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed, our hopes up, and our hearts and wallets open.

By the way, that first hospital ran for 40 years. Then, when our present hospital was opened in 1959, the word “memorial” was added to the name to honour local heroes who did not come home from the two world wars. It is indeed “our” hospital, and we all need to work together to ensure its future.

For more information or to find out how you can help, please contact Penny at 476 1008 ext. 4503, or Briar at ext.4425, or Marthe at ext. 4502, or visit our website at