Another step forward for the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System

Patients in Windsor-Essex are a step closer to the state-of-the-art, modern healthcare they deserve. Last night, Windsor City Council and the Planning Heritage and Economic Development Standing Committee voted to approve the hospital’s zoning applications. Thanks to all who added a voice to the discussion and thanks to City Council and the Standing Committee for your leadership and support.

The joint public meeting was to determine how the area around the new hospital will develop over the next 30 years and beyond, and how the new hospital can be accommodated on the selected site. During the meeting City Planner and Executive Director Thom Hunt said the plan meets provincial and municipal requirements and “makes good planning sense”.

In making their decision, many Councillors commented on the significance of the vote and what it will mean for healthcare.

“Tonight is big step forward for better healthcare for everyone in Windsor-Essex,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens. “We’re talking about a regional hospital, or no hospital at all. I want a $2 billion investment in my community. I think people deserve better healthcare.”

This is another important milestone in the region’s journey toward a new world class hospitals system for Windsor-Essex.

MAJOR MILESTONES TO DATE:

Nov. 2012  Task force recommends moving forward with a new single-site acute care hospital for Windsor-Essex.

Oct. 2013   Historic Realignment of Hospital Services.

July 2015   Volunteer Site Selection Subcommittee recommends site for new hospital

July 2015   Windsor-Essex Hospitals System plan announced

April 2016  City and County Councils approve levy to cover local share of the project

Nov. 2017   Infrastructure Ontario appointed to lead the procurement process for construction of the new hospital. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) scheduled to be issued in 2021, subject to change.

Dec. 2017   Minister of Health and Long-Term Care commits to moving the project to Stage 2

Aug. 2018   Zoning applications approved by Windsor City Council.

NEXT STEPS:

Opponents to the plan have indicated they are planning an appeal.

“We are expecting and prepared for that and hopefully that moves along quickly,” says David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital and Co-Chair of Steering Committee overseeing plans for the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System. “I think it is going to be very difficult on any grounds of appeal though. It is a very solid plan, in the best interest of the city, with conservative projections with respect to numbers. I expect the appeal will be quick and we can go ahead and close on the property.”

In the meantime, Windsor Regional Hospital and the Steering Committee overseeing plans for the Windsor Essex Hospitals System will continue to work with the Erie St. Clair LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) on details of a plan that will best meet the need of patients in the region.

THE NEW WINDSOR-ESSEX HOSPITALS SYSTEM WILL:

Offer patient and family-centred care. The acute care hospital will be designed to accommodate individual patient needs with larger rooms offering more privacy for patients, better accommodations for families and a safer’ less institutional environment.

Improve patient safety and privacy. At least 80% of the rooms in a new hospital will be private. This will help prevent the spread of infection and increase patient privacy.

Help retain and recruit top healthcare professionals. Modern infrastructure will give employees the right tools and facilities they need to enhance patient care. A strengthened focus on education and research will increase collaboration and opportunities for clinical trials.

Include an Urgent Care Centre in the City’s core. To treat semi-urgent and non-urgent patients. For more information on what EMERGENCY CARE EXPERTS are saying about the plan for a UCC, check out this blog from our archives: REDEFINING THE FUTURE OF EMERGENCY CARE.

NOT result in the removal of all healthcare services from the city’s core. The current plan calls for a number of services to be offered in the core including a satellite Emergency (Urgent Care), outpatient mental health, chronic pain management and dialysis.

NOT result in a reduction of beds. The current plan is to have the same number of beds that currently exist, with the capacity to expand if needed.

NOT result in the closure of Erie Shores Healthcare, in Leamington. That hospital is an integral part of hospital services in the region and the CEO from Erie Shores Healthcare has been part of the planning process with representation on the Steering Committee for the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System.

Improve communication between patients, staff and the system. Smart technologies and an efficient design will remove current communication barriers and free up more time for staff to spend providing direct patient care.

When the team at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital selected a site for a new hospital, they knew they were looking for a forever home. So they chose a large empty site to serve the community for generations to come.

The following video was produced in 2014, while the site was still under construction. 

The new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital opened in the fall of 2015.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: NEW OAKVILLE HOSPITAL: BUILT WITH AND FOR THE COMMUNITY

 

IMPROVING THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE

Bigger isn’t always better, but when it comes to the size of your hospital room, it could mean a much more comfortable stay with fewer disruptions for patients trying to heal.

WATCH: IMPROVING THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE – BIGGER ROOMS

 

IMPROVING THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE 

Right now, if you are coming to WRH by ambulance or patient transport services you might have to deal with nasty weather and busy public areas before recieving medical care.

The video below is another example of how the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System will make a trip the hospital a lot more comfortable and private for patients, right from the time they arrive.

WATCH: COMFORTABLE & PRIVATE ARRIVALS 

We often talk about how a new hospital system will “improve the patient experience,” but what does that really mean?  We want to show you in a new video series we are launching today.

The video below shows just one example of how the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System will make a trip the the hospital a lot more comfortable and private for patients and visitors.

WATCH: ELEVATOR PRIVACY 
Who really wants to share an elevator with strangers, or worse, dirty linens?

 

Great news for patients in Windsor and Essex County.  Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care announced plans to add a positron-emission tomography (PET) machine to the WRH nuclear medicine department.

WATCH: March 1, 2018 – PET Scan Announcement

In the past, some patients had to travel out of town to for the scan.  The new machine – pictured below – means those patients can get diagnosed faster and closer to home.

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The PET will be located at the Met campus and is expected to be fully operational in late 2018.  This will be the first provincial funded PET/CT scanner in Ontario, with a price tag of about $3.5 million.

David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor  Regional Hospital, says, “It’s an exciting time for Windsor Regional Hospital.”

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Healthcare in Windsor Essex has come a long way in the last 10 years.  This Windsor Star article is a great summary of the impact the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry – Windsor Campus has had in this region since it opened in 2008.

The Right Medicine: Med school is changing health-care in Windsor

Looking forward to the next 10 years and more game-changing transformations!

“What’s medical education going to look like in Windsor embedded in the new hospital? That new physical plant is a game-changer. How are we going to grow international partnerships? I see growth on a multitude of fronts.”  Dr. Michael Strong, the current dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Looking back, 2017 can be remembered as the year the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System became a reality, instead of just a vision. At the beginning of the year, the discussion was about “IF” the project would move forward, now it’s just a matter of “WHEN”.

Below are some highlights from the past year and a look at what’s next, in 2018.

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2017 HIGHLIGHTS

1) Financial Commitment

As part of the 2017 Ontario Budget, the government approved construction of a new acute care hospital. Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj described the announcement as “Christmas in April for healthcare in Windsor-Essex.”

WATCH: Post budget town hall meeting-April 28, 2017

2) Health Minister says, “Let’s get it built!”

In a visit to Windsor in Dec. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, cemented the move forward by announcing the project was moving to stage 2 of the 5-stage planning process.  “Let’s get it built!” he said to an eager crowed at the Ouellette Campus.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Hoskins described the community engagement process for the project as “exemplary” and expressed his confidence in the site selection process used in the selection of the new hospital site.

LISTEN: Hoskins speaks to reporters at the WRH Ouellette Campus

FROM THE ARCHIVES: WE are Moving Forward

3) Infrastructure Ontario on board

In November, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) was appointed to lead the procurement process for construction of the new hospital. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is scheduled to be issued in 2021, subject to changes.  This will be followed by a Request for Proposal (RFP).

There is still plenty of work ahead, but this gives some deadlines to work toward, and a team of experienced experts to make it happen.

4) Exploring new partnerships

Earlier this year, Windsor Regional Hospital and the Windsor Public Library announced plans to explore the possibility of combining their services to offer a unique library experience for community members, hospital staff, patients and families, at the new acute care hospital site when it opens.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: WRH & WPL announce innovative partnership 

5) Sharing our story

Throughout the process, the Program and Services Steering Committee has strived to be as open, accountable and transparent as possible and include the community at every step.

This year, members of the Steering Committee have been invited to share their planning experiences on several occasions, with other Ontario hospitals that are working on major redevelopment projects.

Co-Chairs of the Program and Services Steering Committee speaking about community engagement at the Canadian Institute – Healthcare Infrastructure Conference, in Toronto, ON.

cheers to 2018

WHAT’S NEXT? 

1) Getting ready to build!

Windsor Regional Hospital is working with planning consultants to make sure that site of the new acute care hospital is properly zoned, when it’s time to build.  After months of studying the area and consulting with stakeholders, a request for an amendment to the city’s Official Plan and Zoning By-laws is expected to be made to the City of Windsor, early in the new year.

WATCH: Planning Consultants from MHBC Planning provide an overview of the process, a history of the area and an early draft of the plan at a public consultation on July 25, 2017

2) Developing a phased in approach

The complete plan is impossible to undertake all at once will require a sequenced approach. As part of the planning, the Steering Committee has agreed with MOHLTC to examine the use existing infrastructure on an interim basis. (Read more)

3) Stage 2 

Planning the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System is a 5-stage process.  We have completed stage 1 and are moving forward.

Timeline chart

Stages 2 and 3 will take about 3 years to complete and this is really where the “rubber hits the road” and plans start to take shape. This will cost about 10 times what the project has cost so far, and require about 10 times the amount of work.

Stage 2: THE FUNCTIONAL PROGRAM

This is a very detailed description of how the new system will operate. It is essentially designing the hospital with words.  This document will be in next steps to develop the building design.

The Functional Program will:

  • Include a detailed description of how programs and services will function;• Look at staffing, space and equipment requirements;
  • Focus on workflow planning for patients, staff and materials; and
  • Require considerable input from users.

GET INVOLVED!

Community engagement and involvement will continue be at the heart of this project going forward and everyone is encouraged to add a voice to the discussion. Sign up to the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System email list for updates on the project and future opportunities to get involved.

WRH Health Minister Visit-18Following last week’s announcement that planning for the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System is moving forward, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins, spoke to members of the media and answered questions about the future of the project.  He called the community engagement process for the project exemplary and commented on the passion, commitment and enthusiasm in Windsor-Essex.

LISTEN: Minister Hoskins answers questions at the WRH Ouellette Campus, Dec. 1, 2017

Here are some highlights from the Minister’s comments:

RE: ANNOUNCEMENT
I’m so proud that we’ve reached this point today, where we, as a province, the government, has, absolutely committed to the investment necessary for creating a new hospital that will serve the population of both Windsor and Essex … There are a lot of layers to this announcement. But two things are sure; Windsor-Essex is getting a new hospital and the government has committed to investing in it to make that happen.

THE LOCAL SHARE / LEVY
Pretty well the moment I became health minister three and a half years ago, I became aware of just how committed the residents and the leadership of Windsor-Essex are to this project, to this new hospital . That commitment, and that passion, and determination makes a big difference, and certainly, the financial commitment that has been made through councils to contribute the local component, that is critically important. It’s also a very clear demonstration of their commitment. For me, it was, never a matter of if, it was a matter of when to be able to reach this announcement today. I was compelled by the evidence in terms of the need for a new hospital and I was certainly compelled by the commitment of the local communities.

STAGE 2
So now it’s official. We’ve committed to funding it. We’ve set aside the funding necessary, so it’s in our fiscal plan, is how we refer to it as a government and I also announced today as well that the process has moved one big step forward into Stage 2, which is important.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
And I have to say, the community process that has been undertaken throughout this over the years with regards to the new hospital has been exemplary. I don’t know if I’ve seen a stronger community process in the province, quite frankly. So that community engagement needs to continue. The leadership that had been involved at every level on the conversation thus far needs to continue that conversation and discussion when it comes to services for downtown core. So I’m not going to predict, or preempt, or suggest what that might look like because it’s– obviously, these are recommendations and proposals, so they’re best suited by those who are closest and have the expertise to determine what they might be.

You know, Windsor, you need to be proud. I’m sure you are. It’s a very unique part of the province. There’s a passion, and commitment, and enthusiasm that exists here. And I’ve felt it every time I’ve been here, but that was certainly present today. So to see such a large group of people coming out, and diverse group, and to actually, you know, have David and others identify specific individuals who have been involved, some of them a long, long time ago, right? And the beginnings of this, and– but throughout the whole process most of them pure volunteers. I think that, it was really exciting to once again, be part of that, and feel it and sense it. And that’s something that Windsor and Essex should be really proud of, is that. Not only on the science side like having done collectively such a good job at stating the case– making the case for a new hospital and all of the programs and services required. But you’ve done an exemplary job with regards the community engagement process. And then you have a wealth of talent, and expertise, and good will, some of it paid, most of it voluntary, that have just come to this challenge with such vigor. And here we are today, really as a result of you know, I just said a few words at a podium, but all the hard work was done over many years by local citizens that just believe in contributing and in giving back, and providing the best, making, creating the best possible health care for Windsor-Essex.

SITE SELECTION
Typically at the, the Ministry, we look to the LHIN and the local hospital to make decisions with regards to siting of new hospitals. There’s an expectation, however, you know, that there is a strong community process that underpins that recommendation. I’m confident that that process was undertaken here in Windsor. But, the Ministry and the government we’re not in the business of site selection. We really look to local leadership and local experts to make what they believe is the best decision, and to do that through community consultation. But I think it’s also important, what I referred to as well is, you know, there’s still a lot of discussion ongoing, right, in terms of whether that’s looking at maintaining, health services in the downtown core, the mental health services that I spoke to. There’s there are many opportunities in Windsor and in Essex and it’s our job, I think, collectively in all of us, to make sure that we avail ourselves of those.”

The Windsor-Essex Hospitals System is a step closer to becoming a reality.

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Today, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus to announce plans to move forward with plans for the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System.

WATCH: THE WINDSOR-ESSEX HOSPITALS SYSTEM IS MOVING FORWARD 

The links below have more information about the announcement and next steps in planning for the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System:  

  • MEDIA RELEASE
  • BACKGROUND AND Q&A  

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    This project is not just about bricks and mortar.  It is about working together as a region to improve the system for patients in Windsor-Essex. 

There is still plenty of work ahead.  Sign up to the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System email list to receive information about future opportunities to get involved.

 

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