The province on Thursday committed $2.5 million toward the study of a proposed mega-hospital in Windsor-Essex.
The study will develop "the scope and governance for a state-of-the-art, single site hospital to serve Windsor-Essex," according to a media release.
Pending approval, Ontario also committed up to $35 million on an additional study that would include, for example, comprehensive capital plans.
Finance Minister and Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Dwight Duncan and Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza made the announcement Thursday at Windsor Regional Hospital's Tayfour Campus.
Duncan said the money announced Thursday is for planning stages only. He said he is "certain" the project will be completed because it's "a necessity."
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said the bigger, single-site hospital is needed.
As an example, Musyj said 1,000 Windsor men get prostate cancer treatment outside of Windsor each year.
"They’re here. They’re Windsorites. Take care of them here," Musyj said. "If we continue with the two acute care facilities and current structure and current programming, we’ll continue to have these issues over and over again. If we move along this vision, I’m confident those issues will go away."
Piruzza said it's not about building a new facility but rather about "building a more integrated system."
Duncan initiated the Windsor Hospitals Study Task Force, which was completed in November 2012, to seek public consultation on future hospital needs in Windsor-Essex.
Thursday it was revealed patients often complained about room size, parking and constant renovations in Windsor hospitals.
"The Hospital Task Force heard clearly from the community that a new single-site acute care facility was needed. We also heard of the need to include the community in the planning process to ensure that local needs are reflected in the delivery of health care services," Piruzza said.
Duncan and Piruzza said Windsor Regional Hospital's Met Campus falls short of today's provincial hospital standards.
For example, today's current standards call for 50-60 acres of property. The Met Campus is 14.4 acres.
Also, Met is 455,485 square feet in size. Today's hospitals should be 685,075 square feet.
Today's standard's also call for 80 per cent of the rooms to be private. Only 29 per cent of Met's room are private.
"What struck me most was when they compared our sites against the current standards in hospitals. It’s mind-numbing to see how our sites aren’t up to snuff," Duncan said.
Duncan said only Hôtel-Dieu Grace and Windsor Regional administration could derail the process.
"They have to decide on governance. They have to work together," he said.
The new hospital is still up to 15 years away from opening.
"The faster this community gets on it, the faster we can approve a new hospital," Duncan said. "There's a compelling case to do this."