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RVH submits 'ambitious' redevelopment plan for government approval

Hospital officials hope to develop new campus in either Innisfil or south-end Barrie at a still-to-be-determined site, as well as expand north campus
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2019-03-14 RVH RB 1
Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

NEWS RELEASE
ROYAL VICTORIA REGIONAL HEALTH CENTRE
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After two years of broad community consultation, data analysis and detailed planning, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has submitted its ambitious redevelopment plan for approval by the provincial government. “

The pre-capital submission outlines RVH’s 20-year graduated infrastructure plan based on a two-campus, integrated model,” explains Charlotte Wallis, chair of the RVH Board of Directors. “This exciting plan will expand space and services, while improving access to care for the region’s residents for generations to come.”

The proposed plan, approved by RVH’s Board of Directors, will double the size of the current Georgian Drive north campus through significant renovations and expansion, including construction of a new nine-story inpatient tower. Redevelopment of the north campus will happen over 10 years and will enable RVH to introduce new programs, expand surgical services and add up to 240 beds, easing hallway medicine and bringing the total number of beds on the current campus to 656.

Simultaneously, a new RVH south campus will be built on a still-to-be-determined site in Innisfil or south Barrie, starting with an ambulatory health hub and expanding over 20 years to become a full-service hospital with a 24/7 Emergency department to serve booming south Simcoe County. The north campus expansion and proposed south campus are inter-dependent and must proceed together. The RVH Foundation has already expressed support for the project.

“This ambitious plan is driven by explosive population growth that has resulted in crippling capacity challenges at RVH,” explains Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “On most days there are no beds available in our health centre and we have no choice but to care for patients in hallways. Given that the population of the Barrie/Innisfil-area is expected to double over the next 20 years, we need to secure approvals for this important project as soon as possible to ensure RVH is able to meet the region’s hospital needs.”

Broad, inclusive community consultation has been foundational to RVH’s planning process. In fact, a dedicated engagement team logged an unprecedented 27,000 interactions with area residents, patients and families, health and community partners, RVH staff, physicians and volunteers. That invaluable feedback informed every step of RVH’s plan. RVH’s almost 600-page submission includes key planning documents called a Master Plan and Master Program which are required by the provincial government.

They provide a detailed evaluation of the current hospital and the services it provides, population and patient volume projections, a high-level space and design plan and cost estimates. The pre-capital submission is the first step in the provincial government’s capital planning process. Its approval by the Ministry of Health would give RVH the green light to move forward to the first of five subsequent planning stages.

RVH’s planning project has been guided by the board’s Capital Planning Committee which includes municipal representatives from Barrie, Innisfil, Bradford West-Gwillimbury, the County of Simcoe, as well as the Ontario Health Central Region-North Simcoe Muskoka. RVH staff, physicians, volunteers and patients had input into the planning process through the health centre’s Capital Planning Advisory Committee.

The South Campus Site Selection Committee, which also includes community members, continues to narrow down the location for the south campus using clear criteria and a comprehensive evaluation process.

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