Continuing on the “hospital” theme of my posts today, I read this article from Oakville Today and a conversation with John Oliver, the CEO of Halton Healthcare Services. You will find his name familiar as HHS is also responsible for Milton District Hospital. This article gives a good synopsis on what it took to get the new hospital approved in Oakville, the services it will be providing area residents (potentially Miltonians as well) and when we can expect it to be up and running.
I think the big difference between the new Oakville Hospital and the potential expansion of Milton District Hospital is the fact that Oakville is, as John Oliver states, “from scratch” whereas any plans for MDH will include the current facility and the surrounding lands. There is no idea from any organization on what the potential costs of expansion would be, including the all important local portion that the Town of Milton has to raise in that 30 year period.
Depending on what the provincial government approves this coming 2011 fiscal year (or if they will approve Milton’s expansion) will decide on how much the Town of Milton will have to raise. As you know, Milton Town Council had approved the 1% tax levy to go towards the dedicated Hospital Expansion fund for the 2011 tax year and will be looking at other ways to add funds to the balance.
It’s important for everyone to keep their eye on the ball so to speak on what needs to be done, ensure we have a proper plan in place and for Milton Town Council, in conjunction with the residents and taxpayers of Milton, find ways to raise money for this fund without continuing and or increasing this levy. Many of the councillors around the table stated that they will be ensuring more public input on ideas and I will endeavour to make sure that happens.
Obviously this new hospital in Oakville will have some affect on what expansion MDH will get but I hope the province of Ontario realizes that something has to be done. Its been said over and over again and it bears repeating over and over again. The Province of Ontario needs to recognize that Milton needs SOMETHING done and soon. The population of Milton is rapidly approaching 100,000 and our current facilities simply wont do. The Town of Milton needs to be seen as a priority to ensure the proper delivery of healthcare services to Milton residents and the surrounding area.
Lets hope they listen…because I certainly will keep talking about it with you.
Feel free to comment.
NORTH OAKVILLE TODAY – A consortium will soon be selected to build the new Oakville hospital and shovels are likely to hit the ground by the summer, but curiosity still surrounds the finer points of the ongoing process.
North Oakville Today spoke with President and CEO of Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) John Oliver to get further insight into one of the most important projects ever undertaken by this community.
The new Oakville hospital, which is slated for a 50-acre site at the northwest corner of Third Line and Dundas Street, is expected to open its doors in early 2015.
“We’re building a hospital from scratch,” said Oliver. “We’re not doing a renovation, we’re not doing an add-on. We’re on a green field site and we have an opportunity to create a facility that in all aspects is modern and designed with the most recent thinking in hospital design.”
The project is being funded through the province’s Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model.
Under the model, a private consortium of companies and investors will be responsible for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of the hospital.
The hospital is then paid for by the province and stakeholders over a 30-year period, similar to a mortgage.
According to Oliver, the AFP model transfers much of the construction risk to private sector partners.
The AFP model requires a local share contribution towards the cost of the hospital, which totals $530 million: $60 million from the Oakville Hospital Capital Campaign, $270 from Halton Healthcare Services and up to $200 million from the Town of Oakville.
In order to protect the competitive bidding process, an estimated total cost of the hospital has never been released.
With the February 25 request for proposal approval date fast approaching, Oliver said that the foremost factor being considered when selecting one of three bidding consortia is how closely the bids adhere to HHS’s building specifications.
“We have issued what are called project specific output specs,” said Oliver. “We are looking for the bids to be compliant and aligned with our desired project descriptors.”
Oliver said that cost issues are also being considered as well as construction management and building maintenance.
“We will have an agreement where for 30 years after we take occupancy, the building will be maintained [by the consortium],” he said.
According to Oliver, after the request for proposal close date, there will be a period of bid evaluations with Infrastructure Ontario ending in mid to late May. Only after that will the successful bidder be announced.
“Soon after the preferred proponent is named, we’ll probably begin early work on the site,” said Oliver. “There are things that have to get going with access roads and storm water management and all the grading and the developments needed to have the infrastructure to sustain a major capital project. There’ll be site work likely in late May, early June.”
Oliver said that at the same time the preliminary site work is taking place, HHS should be working towards commercial and financial close, which involves coming to a final agreement with the approved consortium. He said commercial and financial close is expected by mid-summer.
“Then the actual site construction work can begin immediately after that so we would anticipate that to be in late July or early August,” he said.
When the facility opens, patients will be transferred to the new Oakville hospital from Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The number of beds at the new hospital will be increased over time to 457 beds with space to grow to 602 beds in the future.
Oliver said right now, HHS is working on being operational ready for 2015.
“It’s a mountain and you scale a mountain one day at a time,” he said, “and we’re starting four and a half years in advance and we will be very ready to deliver care when we open those doors.”
The transition into a new hospital seems like a daunting task but Oliver said that HHS is looking into other hospitals that have successfully made the move.
“Any lessons we can learn on being operational ready we are picking up from some very recent experiences locally,” he said.
Oliver said that the vision for the new Oakville hospital is meant to offer more than just additional rooms, newer equipment and more staff. It will also offer a comfortable environment in which to heal.
“There is a lot of evidence,” said Oliver, “that environments that are warm, supportive, that are reflective of the environment that you live in…are conducive to healing and much more supportive for families and for staff that are staying with patients as well. So that’s the kind of environment we’re after.
“Almost all areas are designed now to make sure that we have light wells and areas where people can feel connected to the landscape and connected to nature through the building.”
Oliver said that HHS will be more ouspoken once the request for proposal analysis is completed in May. When the final design is approvedshortly there after, Oakville will get its first glimpse into what the new hospital will actually look like when the doors open in 2015.
“This is a much-needed project for Oakville,” he said. “It’s a very exciting.”
For information about the new Oakville hospital, visit www.newoakvillehosptial.com.