Remember this? I do!

Deb Matthews: “…the green light… the go ahead… I want to be very clear. This money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through the treasury board. All of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. This money is part of our infrastructre plan….this money is part of that plan.”

Do you remember this day? I do…and over 100,000 Miltonians do as well. Here is a press release from MPP Ted Chudleigh.

www.tedchudleigh.com

MILTON DISTRICT HOSPITAL EXPANSION: A PROMISE THAT MUST BE KEPT
Chudleigh urges the people of Milton to remain vigilant as the 2012 budget nears

(Milton) – With the tabling of the 2012 Ontario Budget less than a week away, and the Minister of Finance promising massive infrastructure cuts, Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh today urged the people of Milton to keep their voices strong to ensure the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is completed on time.

“All of us were thrilled when the Minister finally promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016. But we can’t kid ourselves. With the Liberals’ spending problem hitting us hard, the long list of broken Liberal promises and with talk of hospital projects being axed in the upcoming budget we need to keep our voices strong,” said Chudleigh.

“Was this just another Liberal lie to get elected?” asked Chudleigh

The PC Government began the project to expand the Milton hospital in 2001. In 2003, soon after they were elected, the McGuinty Liberals cancelled the expansion.

Subsequently, for close to a decade, the people of Milton worked diligently to explain to the Liberals the necessity of expanding the hospital. A booming population and undersized hospital were not acceptable and had begun to put the heath of their families at risk.

On August 25, 2011 the Liberal Minister of Health and Long Term Care finally heard the Town’s plea and promised the province would fund the hospital’s expansion, “I want to be very clear this money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through our treasury board. All of the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed,” she said.

“Was Milton lied to?” asked Chudleigh “I guess only time will tell.”

Indeed, noting that the announcement to expand Milton District Hospital occurred just before the provincial election, Chudleigh questioned if the McGuinty Liberals ever intended to keep their promise to expand the hospital by 2016.

“The Minister stood in the Milton hospital, with tears in her eyes, and promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016,” said Chudleigh. “If this was an election ploy it is unforgivable.”

Milton Champion Coverage of Hospital Expansion Announcement

I’m still giddy (yes I said giddy) with excitement everytime I read something about the expansion at Milton District Hospital.  Here is the article from today’s Milton Canadian Champion (by Christina Commisso) with coverage of the historic announcement.

Hospital expansion approved

Completion expected in late 2015 or early 2016

Hugs, high-fives and tears were aplenty Thursday morning, as Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews announced Milton’s hospital has been given the long-awaited green light for a massive expansion.

Milton District Hospital (MDH) will triple in size following a 320,000 square-foot addition that should be completed by late 2015 or early 2016.

“The support is unanimous. We have people from all political parties who are here today saying yes, this is the right decision. I’m pleased that all of us together have gotten where we are today,” said Matthews, as the room erupted in applause.

Pointing to an outpouring of community support that has  surrounded the MDH expansion, the Liberal MPP said hospitals are the heart and soul of a community, “and no where is that more true than right here in Milton. You should change the town’s motto to ‘where we don’t take no for an answer.’”

Matthews re-iterated that the expansion is poised to move full-steam ahead. “I want to be very clear this money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through our treasury board. All of the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed. This money is part of our infrastructure plan.”

The expansion will include a new emergency department to accommodate 45,500 visits a year. Currently the department can handle 30,000 visits. The addition of an MRI machine and chemotherapy services will more than triple the size of the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department. A new maternal child-care ward will include 17 post-partum beds, up from the current eight, and the intensive care unit will see 10 beds, up from six.

Also in the plans are two new medical surgical in-patient units with capacity for 72 patients and expanded operating suites, and a post-anesthetic care unit that will accommodate 8,400 surgeries a year — a 70 per cent increase over the department’s current capacity.

Eighty per cent of the rooms will be single patient to enhance infection control.

Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) CEO John Oliver said construction should be complete by 2015/16, about a year after the new Oakville hospital is planned for completion.

“Both hospitals will be under construction at the same time and one will open right after the other. We’re going to make up for lost time in Milton,” said Oliver to an elated crowd.

He said detailed planning with hospital staff will begin immediately, along with discussions with the hospital foundation and the Town regarding the local share of the construction costs plus the entire cost of equipping and furnishing the hospital.

Asked about the cost of the expansion, Oliver said for the time being a number won’t be released to the public. “We learned from the Oakville project when you put a number out, it changes…we’ll talk about the kinds of services and the number of beds, but we won’t release a number to the public.”

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said at this point in time he has no idea what kind of money the Town will be on the hook for in terms of the local share.

“This was only the start and now some of the grunt work needs to be done and finances is going to be a big part of that,” he said. “I have a sneaking suspicion the community is going to buy into this and fundraising is going to have to be a definite part of it.”

The recently-announced Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital expansion, pegged at $312 million, is looking for $120 million from the Burlington community. The Town of Oakville has committed up to $130 million toward the construction of the new Dundas Street and Third Line hospital, and the Oakville Hospital Foundation is raising $60 million for the community share.

Asked if the hospital’s local share will be part of the Town’s 2012 budget — which is already well underway — Milton’s CAO Mario Belvedere said, “We will do what needs to be done to support this program and we can work on amending whatever needs to be done.”

He said he plans to meet with Oliver within the next few weeks to discuss numbers, adding that the scope and speed of the expansion is “well beyond our imagination.”

Halton’s Conservative MPP Ted Chudleigh, who has advocated for a Milton hospital expansion for a number of years, joked, “It’s such a good day, I don’t think I can say anything bad about the Liberals.

“This project is going from functional planning to completion in one step, that’s unprecedented in Ontario.”

Asked how the expansion — which several Milton residents and councillors dubbed the number one election issue — changes the dynamics of the October 6 provincial election, Chudleigh said, “It becomes less of an issue. It comes off the table and now it’s a matter of making it happen.”

Local provincial Liberal candidate Indira Naidoo-Harris said Thursday was a day for celebration.

“It’s a wonderful day for Halton and Milton. I am thrilled the minister has been listening to our community.”

Several members of the Friends of Milton Hospital and Grow Milton Hospital groups were on hand for the announcement and said the days of gathering about 40,000 signatures (during two community campaigns) in support of an expansion — in rain or shine — has finally paid off.

“We needed care at all levels,” said Friends of Milton Hospital co-chair and former nurse Cari Kovachik-MacNeil. “Milton’s emergency has always been known for how good it was, but then where do the patients go from here when the hospital is in gridlock. Now they can stay here, in their own hometown.”

Details on Milton Hospital Expansion

Less than 24 hours later, the grins on the faces of those who had worked so hard over the last few years have not gone anywhere.  I know that I have not lost the feeling of excitement at yesterdays announcement at Milton District Hospital by Health Minister Deb Matthews of the approval of the expansion of MDH.

You dont see standing ovations and tears at government announcements but this was different.  The doctors and nurses and staff and volunteers at MDH have waited for this for a very long time.  Tears of joy streamed from many faces after Minister Matthews said that we got the green light.  She credited our persistence in this and asked that we change our motto to “Never Take No For An Answer”.  The hard work begins at many levels.  From John Oliver and Allan Halls from Halton Healthcare Services, to the LHIN all the way down to our Town Council, decisions have to be made and believe me, we are working on it as we speak.  Town Staff are going to be working many long hours coming up with options for the funding of our local portion.  I can assure you that I want to hear from you, the residents of Milton on YOUR ideas as well.  This hospital is for our community and we need to hear from you.

I have received dozens of emails from people wondering about the details of the announcement and MDHF through their website have released details of the announcement, which you will find below.

Thank you to everyone in Milton who made this possible.  It was a long time coming and its finally here.  Green light is ON and we will now begin the process to move forward and get the job done.

http://www.mdhf.ca/images/stories/PDF/Press_Releases/Announcement_Highlights_FINAL.pdf

MILTON DISTRICT HOSPITAL EXPANSION

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

The expansion at the hospital will include 320,000 sq.ft. of new construction and 3,700 sq.ft. of renovations to existing space. At a current size of approximately 125,000 sq.ft., this expansion will more than double the size of the hospital.

Clinical departments in the new space will include:

  • Emergency
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Maternal Childcare
  • Medical/Surgical Inpatient Units
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Surgical Department

Clinical Support departments in the new space will include:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medical Device Reprocessing
  • Materials Management
  • Information Systems
  • Clinical Information Systems
  • Facilities Maintenance

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Emergency Department

Entirely new space will be sized to accommodate 45,500 visits per year. The current department has capacity to handle approximately 30,000 visits. The new space will more than triple the size of the current department.

Diagnostic Imaging

The plan includes the addition of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine and Nuclear Medicine Services. The expansion will more than triple the size of the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department.

Maternal Childcare

The new department will have increased capacity from eight to 17 post‐partum beds and associated birthing facilities. The new space will include a dedicated C‐section suite. Today, C‐sections are performed in the hospital’s Surgical Department.

Medical/Surgical Inpatient Units

New space will accommodate two, 36‐bed units with capacity for 72 patients. Eighty percent single patient rooms will enhance infection prevention and control and provide increased patient privacy and comfort. The expanded units will more than double capacity in the department.

Intensive Care Unit

The ICU will see an increase in capacity from six beds to 10 beds. The new, appropriately sized, unit will consist of modern facilities to support contemporary practices.

Surgical Department

Expanded operating suites and a Post‐Aneasthetic Care Unit will accommodate 8,400 surgical procedures annually. This represents an increase of 70% over the department’s current capacity.

CURRENT HOSPITAL

Existing facilities, including space made available from relocating services into the new construction, will be utilized to accommodate the needs of a number of clinical and clinical support departments including:

  • Complex Continuing Care
  • Medical Daycare and Cancer Clinic
  • Outpatient Mental Health Services
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
  • Laboratory
  • Cardio‐Respiratory Services
  • Food Services
  • Environmental Services
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Administration, Volunteer Services, Foundation

BENEFITS TO OUR COMMUNITY

  • State‐of‐the‐art hospital facilities developed in the new space providing additional capacity to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community,
  • New and enhanced programs and services including additional diagnostic capabilities and new ambulatory services such as chemotherapy treatment and mental health services,
  • Contemporary design to support enhanced infection prevention and control to reduce the spread of infection,
  • A healing environment focused on patient‐centred care including improved amenities to support family involvement,
  • Clearly marked traffic routes will separate emergency vehicles, hospital staff, public transit and the general public,
  • Simple internal and external way‐finding will allow for accessible and convenient movement,
  • Facilities built to current and anticipated design standards.    

Milton Hospital Expansion Approved!

Its been a busy day for a number of reasons. I was at the announcement today along with several of our town councillors, MPP Ted Chudleigh, Liberal candidates Indiria Naidoo Harris, Friends of Milton Hospital, doctors and nurses, and staff and volunteers. Quite emotional. I had to leave because we had a medical emergency with our cat Chester. He was in a fight on the weekend and developed a massive infection which burst today and my son called in a panic. (Chesters had his surgery and is doing ok, we’ll be picking him up soon)

I put together a few thoughts, and once things settle down at home, I’ll post more…and probably add more people to thank so I dont leave anyone out.

EDIT:  As Colin Best reminded me on the Hawthorne Villager I forgot someone important.  Regional Chair Gary Carr has also played a very strong role in getting meetings scheduled with cabinet ministers during the recent AMO Conference in London and also bringing up Milton’s needs at every possible opportunity.  Thank you Gary!!!

Here is the video from today courtesy of Brian Best (thanks for the vid…it was a historic day in Milton and I’m glad it was captured)

Today was a great day for Milton with the announcement of the hospital expansion earlier today. Many thanks to a LOT of people.

To the doctors and nurses and volunteers and staff of Milton Hospital…thank you. You were the ones under the gun over the last several years and despite everything seemingly against you, you have ALL done an amazing job.

The tears of joy I witnessed from the staff at MDH said it all.

To John Oliver and Alan Halls THANK YOU for your leadership and persistence in this matter. Everyone at Halton Healthcare Services has been a strong advocate for Milton and our needs and you have lead the charge.

To Friends of Milton Hospital, THANK YOU. Over 36,000 signatures were collected and presented to the government to let them know, THIS was the issue in town.

To my fellow council members, THANK YOU. Everytime we had the ear of a provincial minister of govt, we brought the Milton Hospital expansion to their attention. Theres a reason why Minister Deb Matthews mentioned our persistence.

To my colleagues on the Grow Milton Hospital campaign, THANK YOU! We helped in keeping the pressure up and we saw the end result in mind. Todays announcement was a result of a lot of people and the residents of Milton…THANK YOU.

There is also MPP Ted Chudleigh to thank for his years of work on this with the provincial government. John Oliver made mention in his speech of Ted’s efforts on raising awareness over the last several years, and while colourful at times, his passion for Halton residents in Milton was unwaivering. THANK YOU Ted!

Now the hard work begins. We WILL do this together and with everyones support from all sides … the job will get done.

The Time Is NOW

As you might have already read in the Milton Canadian Champion and the Halton Compass this week, mark the date of Saturday April 16th at 10AM on your calendar.

There will be a citizens rally for the expansion of Milton District Hospital at Victoria Park (just outside Milton Town Hall) to show support of MDH and to send a message to the provincial government that “The Time Is Now” for approval.

Numerous studies have been completed by Halton Healthcare Services over the years that clearly outlines the fact we need a bigger hospital to help deliver healthcare services to the people of Milton.  Promises have been made over these years with nothing in return.

With the coming provincial budget and election this year, we feel that this is the perfect time to let the voices of Miltonians be heard.

Here is the link to the petition we will be getting signed by as many Milton residents as possible to deliver to the provincial government by our MPP Ted Chudleigh.  MPP Chudleigh is no stranger to voicing the concerns of residents in his riding when it comes to hospital expansion as he has been a strong advocate for MDH expansion.

You can also join the Facebook group as well by going here.

Again join us on the 16th of April at Victoria Park to speak out and let the provincial government know that “The Time Is NOW!!”

There will also be lawn signs available for you to show your support and advertise the event.  Email me or post your address on this blog post if you would like yours.