box10.gif (1299 bytes)








Ontario to fund northern hospital development

SUDBURY – The Ontario government announced it will fund 80 percent of the Sudbury Regional Hospital redevelopment and 80 percent of the capital costs for the new Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The projects will provide northern Ontarians with better access to health services, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (pictured at left) said.

Regarding the Sudbury facility, the premier said, “This funding will help the community realize its vision of providing better healthcare closer to home.”

The Sudbury Regional Hospital redevelopment project will consolidate three hospital sites into one and, once complete, will be a state-of-the-art facility with 429 beds. It will also become a teaching facility for the new Northern Ontario Medical School when it opens in 2005.

The redevelopment will upgrade emergency, cardiovascular, and maternal and newborn services, as well as expand mental health and rehabilitation services. In addition, the laboratory and diagnostic imaging departments will be modernized.

Earlier this year, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman convened a summit with ministry officials, hospital administrators and volunteer hospital and board foundation members to develop an action plan to move the project forward. Ken White, president and CEO of Trillium Health Centre and a native of Fort Frances, was named as a facilitator to serve as a liaison between the hospital and the ministry.

“We’re happy to announce this special arrangement with Sudbury Regional Hospital to cover 80 percent of the shareable costs of their redevelopment project,” said Smitherman. “We are confident that this announcement will ensure a bright future for the hospital and the communities it serves.”

The Premier and Minister Smitherman were also joined by Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Rick Bartolucci. The Premier recognized Minister Bartolucci for his hard work and dedication in bringing better health services to northern Ontarians.

“Today’s announcement, combined with our commitment to the new northern medical school, will help create a state-of-the-art health system in the north where doctors and nurses are better able to provide the quality healthcare people deserve,” said Premier McGuinty.

The Premier also emphasized the government’s commitment to delivering results in health care across the province, including shorter wait times and better access to doctors and nurses.”This is the right thing to do, with Ontarians, for Ontarians.”

For its part, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is the largest hospital in northwestern Ontario. It has 375 acute-care beds, a regional cancer centre, mental health services and operates a very busy emergency department.

The regional cancer centre will provide better access to cancer care for northern Ontarians by doubling the number of annual radiation and chemotherapy treatments provided by 2010.

Tom Closson, president and CEO of University Health Network, has been named special advisor to liaise between the hospital and the ministry and will develop a plan to help Thunder Bay fulfil its role as a regional hospital with a teaching mandate.