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Province says it will rebuild West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby

Premier Doug Ford, Wednesday morning, announced his plan to rebuild West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby.

'We're going to build you the hospital you need,' Ford said at an announcement Wednesday

Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and MPP Sam Oosterhoff talk to a West Lincoln Memorial Hospital supporter before an announcement Wednesday. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The province says it will build a new hospital in Grimsby, and provide $8.5 million in emergency upgrades in the meantime.

The heart of Grimsby is here.- Sam Oosterhoff, Niagara West PC MPP

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Wednesday. He said the province will put $500,000 toward an early plan to rebuild the hospital, which is known locally for its surgical and obstetrics units. And when a new hospital is built, the province will help pay for it.

"We're going to build you the hospital you need," Ford said.

"You've got the best front line health care staff — the nurses, the doctors, the support workers here in Niagara. They are all fantastic. But you need a facility that helps you do your job the best you can." 

Doug Ford poses with Joanne Johnston, a Grimsby alderman, before an announcement at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Ford said that surgical and obstetric services won't be removed from the hospital, as feared by people living in the area, for more than two years starting in the new year.

The Ontario PC government also said they would pay for $8.5 million worth of "immediate infrastructure improvements" while the province and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) do early planning for the new hospital.

Those upgrades are "critically important," said Rob MacIsaac, president of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). The hospital needs about $8.6 million to rebuild surgical facilities to meet standards set out by Accreditation Canada.

Doug Ford announced money for Grimsby's hospital. From left: Health Minister Christine Elliott, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, Ford and Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The hospital needs electrical upgrades, as well as better systems for air handling, communications, and fire alarms, among other improvements.

"There are significant infrastructure systems here at risk of critical failure," MacIsaac said.

HHS asked the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care for money in early November, saying the hospital needed renovations right away "to maintain patient safety." 

Ford's announcement brought sighs of relief in the community, which worried it would lose its hospital. Signs that read "Save & Rebuild" line the town's streets. Hamilton city councillors for Winona, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek have also spoken out about the hospital's importance. 

"There are significant infrastructure systems here at risk of critical failure," says Rob MacIsaac, president of Hamilton Health Sciences. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)
Signs supporting saving the hospital are located around Grimsby. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff says he hears daily from people worried about the hospital's future.

"The heart of Grimsby is here," he said. "I was born here myself. So many thousands of babies have been born here. People come here for their needs, whether it's a broken wrists or diabetes or X-rays. This is really the heart of not only Grimsby but the broader Niagara region."

Ford didn't elaborate on a timeline, but Oosterhoff said the province wants "shovels in the ground" by 2022. "This is going to happen on our watch," he said.

"Christmas came early," Oosterhoff said. "I'm incredibly happy."

About the Author

Samantha Craggs

Reporter

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca

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