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Health minister attends unveiling of sign for new Groves hospital

Hospital rounds - Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, fourth from right, joined hospital staff, doctors, politicians and citizens at the site where the new Groves hospital will be built. Joining her from left were Warden Chris White, Centre Wellington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj, MPP Ted Arnott, Dr. John Stickney, Ewan Armstrong, Dr. Amanda Wagle, hospital board chairman Paul Smith, chief of staff Dr. Patrick Otto and CEO Jerome Quenneville.  photo by Kris Svela

Health minister attends unveiling of sign for new Groves hospital

by Kris Svela

FERGUS - Plans to construct a brand new hospital here may not have been filled out with concrete numbers on funding, but did get the stamp of approval from health minister Deb Matthews.

The minister was in town on Dec. 6, flanked by hospital staff, physicians, volunteers and local politicians, to unveil a sign marking the site of the planned hospital, which will stand just off of Beatty Line.

The hospital is currently at the design stage with no exact costs connected to the facility, slated for completion by 2016, according to Jerome Quenneville, president and CEO of Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH), as well as North Wellington Health Care.

“It’s the first of many steps on our route to a new hospital,” Quenneville told those gathered for the unveiling.

The province is expected to pick up 90 per cent of construction costs for the hospital with the community raising the rest.

“I’m thrilled to unveil a new sign to celebrate a milestone in the development of Groves Memorial Community Hospital’s new building,” Matthews said. “This facility will be an important part of the health care system for Fergus area residents and will mean faster and easier access to services much closer to home, in a new and modernized setting. I look forward to working with GMCH staff during the development of this new hospital.”

The minister vowed, before leaving the community to investigate the history of well-known Fergus physician Dr. Abraham Groves, who was born in 1847 and died in 1935. He was a surgeon who pioneered the use of antiseptics and sterilization and was the first surgeon to perform an appendectomy.

The current Groves hospital building was built in 1953 with additions in 1965 and 1980 and today provides acute and non-acute care, and complex continuing care. The hospital was founded in 1902 as the Alexandra Hospital. In 1932 Groves gave the facility to Fergus and the new building was renamed for him in the 1950s.

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomed the minister saying, “your presence here today dignifies our celebration.

“I again express my appreciation to the government of Ontario for approving our new hospital here in Centre Wellington,” Arnott said. “We have a great story to tell here at Groves. Compassionate care is second to none, a team environment where everyone works together, a community that stands behind its hospital, with outstanding municipal government leadership both at the county and the township, enthusiastic volunteers who put in countless hours to help any way they can, community members who willingly dig deep to help provide the financial support the project needs and our vision inspired by Dr. Groves so many years ago, to be a leader in rural and small town health care.”

“I believe we can provide a higher quality of care at a lower cost,” Matthews added.

Arnott said the community had raised $15 million so far for the project.

Grove Hospital board chairman Paul Smith said the unveiling was among the first steps to completion of the state-of-the-art facility.

“How can you not be more excited if you are involved in health care to be standing here on the site of our new hospital?” he said. “We’re creating a hospital designed for you, from your perspective.”

Chief of staff Dr. Patrick Otto said the unveiling shows the community the project is moving ahead.

“Some were skeptical,” he said of the original plan to build a new hospital. “I think that skepticism has evaporated.”

Matthews said the project will require “a lot of work before you can put shovels in the ground,” adding the community will have to “roll up its sleeves” to raise the 10 per cent required to match 90% coming from the province.

December 14, 2012


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