Wallaceburg hospital moving forward with redevelopment

Wallaceburg hospital redevelopment announcement. December 3, 2021. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

The Wallaceburg hospital is expanding with a new emergency department and diagnostic imaging department.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) said the plan also calls for renovated ambulatory care services to go where the current emergency department sits, medical beds, and a laboratory.

Stage 2 of the Wallaceburg hospital redevelopment will include community engagement through surveys and focus groups to determine what the public wants to be built and estimate costs for the project, according to CKHA.

CKHA President and CEO Lori Marshall said this exciting milestone for the community will essentially lead to a new hospital with high-quality care for years.

“Allows us to plan for the hospital of the future that will care for the patient in a manner that is contemporary, state of the art, and provides adequate facilities for the staff, physicians, and volunteers to have a safe work environment,” she added.

Marshall also said Wallaceburg needs more ambulatory care space to treat day patients and send them home to recover, saving beds for urgent in-patients.

Marshall added Christmas or not, she’ll take these types of gifts anytime.

“I will take these kinds of gifts at any time of the year. So, if there were any other ones that were coming at some other time, I would really appreciate those too,” said Marshall.

Labour Minister and local MPP Monte McNaughton hopes the shovel will be in the ground ASAP, adding the announcement is one of his highlights as an MPP.

“The goal here is to get this hospital built as quickly as possible for the people of Wallaceburg. It takes time to get it right and that’s what we want to do and engaging the public to hear feedback from them, what they want to see in this hospital,” McNaughton said.

The 60-year-old Wallaceburg hospital had to be saved from closing over a decade ago and Marshall credits the community for its survival.

Marshall noted the community is responsible for 10 per cent of the overall redevelopment cost and 100 per cent of the equipment cost, expected to be more than $25 million in total.

The province must approve this stage before redevelopment moves to the next phase.

She added ambulatory care services in Chatham won’t be transferred to Wallaceburg.

Wallaceburg hospital expansion diagram. Courtesy of CKHA.