Milton Canadian Champion Covers Grow Milton Hospital

Citizens rally for Milton hospital expansion

(Photo Courtesy of Milton Canadian Champion, Graham Paine) – By Christina Commisso, Milton Canadian Champion

The signs are up, the signatures are in and the will is strong.

The time for Milton’s hospital expansion is now — that message was heard loud and clear Saturday morning.

About 30 people huddled under the gazebo at Victoria Park, sheltered against the rain and wind, to show their support for the expansion.

“We’re a small group, but we’re mighty,” said Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh.

He, along with citizen’s group Grow Milton Hospital, has collected more than 5,000 signatures of support for the expansion over a six-week campaign.

The petitions were delivered to Queen’s Park yesterday.

The urgency of the expansion was outlined by Milton District Hospital (MDH) surgeon Dr. Jeff Kolbasnik, who spoke during the morning event. 

“When I started (at MDH) we had lots of ward beds. Anytime I needed to admit a patient there was no issue. In the emergency department there would be a few people backed up, but routinely people would get seen within an hour. We never had surgery cancelled because no beds were available and getting a patient in urgently was no problem. Things have really changed.”

According to Kolbasnik, it’s not just the population spike that has placed mounting pressure on MDH; the infrastructure at the hospital is showing signs of deterioration.

He pointed to a leaky roof last summer that led to the evacuation of the medical surgical ward for almost a week. MDH recently received a “state of the art” surgical sterilization machine, which Kolbasnik said took a week to install because the hospital’s infrastructure was too old to support the new technology.

“During that week we had to ration surgical equipment…that’s not the sort of thing that should be happening in a growing community like ours.”

He continued, “As much as there’s a gradual deterioration, we’re worried we’re going to reach a breaking point when things just start to fall apart.”

Organizer and Ward 6 Councillor Mike Cluett took some time to dispel common rumors circulating about the MDH expansion.

Pointing to the new north Oakville hospital, Cluett said: “The Oakville hospital is designed for Oakville’s growth, not for other communities. We need a made-in-Milton hospital expansion for Milton’s needs now.”

Cluett added that he’s unfazed by naysayers.

“We’ve heard, ‘It’s great you’re doing this but it’s not going to make a difference.’ Well we’d rather go down swinging than not do anything at all. We want to let the provincial government know that it starts with them. Give us the go ahead, and we’ll figure the rest out.”

Playing MC for the event, Scott Fox of Z103.5 said when he moved to town seven years ago he would brag to his friends about the zero wait times at MDH.

“Now the tables have turned,” he said.

“All you have to do is look around at a town that’s bursting at the seams and a hospital that was built decades ago. The fact that people are waiting, they’re being sent to other communities for critical care, surgeries are being postponed because there’s not enough beds — this screams expansion.”

Chudleigh said he hopes the message comes through loud and clear at Queen’s Park. The petition was delivered mere weeks before the Province is expected to release its 10-year infrastructure list for high-priority projects.

Despite what transpires in the next few weeks, Cluett said the momentum for the expansion won’t slow down anytime soon.

“It doesn’t end today. It’s going to continue until the spade is in the ground and we have our hospital.”

3 Replies to “Milton Canadian Champion Covers Grow Milton Hospital”

  1. All I can say is outstanding job by everyone. I was at the rally on Saturday morning (there was more than 30 people there…closer to 60 at one point) and Mike’s speech was SO INSPIRING.

    He spoke passionately about the hospital and its need for expansion and part of me wondered why HE isnt working at Queens Park as the MPP (Sorry Ted, no offence 🙂 )

    Everyone involved deserves a big round of applause and thanks from EVERY Miltonian. Im really glad that we will keep up the momentum and the signs will stay up. The time IS now and congratulations to everyone behind the scenes who got this done! Mr McGuinty…are you listening?

  2. I agree. I didn’t get a chance to go to the rally but my wife did and if ever Mike wants to run provincially, he’s got my vote!

    Great job by all involved and I hope that we can make a difference this time.

  3. Thanks for the kind words (and the promotion, but I think that spot is filled right now 🙂 ) and thanks for coming out Saturday. It was great meeting everyone! We have to make sure the momentum doesnt slow down…lets keep up the effort and stay tuned to my site as well as http://www.growmiltonhospital.com

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