Premier Doug Ford was in Ottawa on Friday to commit more than $29 million for the Ottawa Hospital’s future Civic Campus.
The facility will be located by the escarpment across from Dow’s Lake. Construction is set to begin in 2024, with an opening slated for 2028.
The project has been in the works for more than a decade and it comes at a time when beds are desperately needed within the healthcare system.
“We can do more to build a stronger, more resilient health system,” said Ford. “Our government is continuing to do so right here at the Ottawa Hospital.”
The hospital’s president and CEO says the project has been in the works for nearly 15 years.
“When you think about the demands of healthcare that have arisen post-pandemic and you look at the growth and the impact to healthcare over the next 10 to 20 years, this is probably one of the most impactful things that we can do to build a strong healthcare system for our region,” said Cameron Love.
The design and site plan was unveiled May 2021.
The main hospital will sit by the escarpment across from Dow’s Lake. It will include a trauma centre, surgical suite, outpatient clinics, as well as research and education spaces.
Additional clinic space and medical offices will be on the lower portion of the site, connected to the nearby LRT station.
The new build would add more than 300 beds during a time when hospital capacity is desperately needed.
“We have a significant bed challenge with healthcare,” said Love. “There are not enough beds and long backlogs and wait times in emergency departments. We need beds to operate and catch up on the backlog of surgeries.”
While construction is still years away, there’s already concerns about staffing.
“We have hundreds of empty positions throughout all the campuses,” said Rachel Muir, a registered nurse and the president of the RNAO Ottawa Hospital Bargaining Unit. “They are going to add and expand our trauma unit, but where are they going to find the highly skilled professionals to facilitate that because a bed is just a bed.”
Love says they are in the process of recruiting more staff as part of an ongoing effort to catch up on the surgical procedures impacted by the pandemic.
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