Residents Applaud Announcement to Develop a New Hospital in Vaughan



    VAUGHAN, ON, April 27 /CNW/ - Earlier today the provincial government
announced its decision to move forward with planning of new hospital services
in Vaughan. Starting immediately, the Central Local Health Integration Network
(LHIN) and the Vaughan Health Care Foundation will work together with the
community and local health service providers, to assess how this facility can
best meet the growing and future health needs of patients and their families
close to home.
    Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman, and Finance Minister and
Vaughan-King-Aurora M.P.P. Greg Sorbara, stated that the development of a new
health care facility will begin with service level planning and an assessment
of capital needs for the new hospital. While the Foundation will work with the
community to spearhead the development of this facility, the Central LHIN will
provide advice on governance and capital planning for future hospital
operations in Vaughan. This new hospital in Vaughan will be the first new
greenfield hospital development in Ontario in over 25 years.
    "This is an exciting day for both the residents of Vaughan and the
growing communities across York Region," said Michael DeGasperis, Acting Chair
and Vice President of the Foundation. "The province has recognized the urgent
need for improved health care services in Vaughan, and has responded by
engaging the community to develop the right resources necessary to ensure the
best access to care possible."
    Vaughan remains the largest city in Canada without its own hospital. With
an estimated population of 240,000, Vaughan's population has more than doubled
over the past fifteen years. Statistics Canada estimates that Vaughan's
population will exceed 300,000 in the next few years. Vaughan is currently the
only municipality within the top 10 most populous areas in Ontario without an
acute care hospital.
    The Needs Assessment and Vision for the Future: Health Care Facility
Planning Report completed in 2005 by IBM Business Consulting Services for the
Vaughan Health-Care Facility Study Task Force, justified the need for a new
hospital in Vaughan. At present 56% of Vaughan residents seeking inpatient
acute care services travel to Toronto to access essential health care
services, combined with 36% to York Region more broadly. Over three quarters
of residents seeking day procedures, and over half for emergency procedures,
are also sought in Toronto. While the facilities that receive these patients
are exceptional, they too are finding it difficult to keep pace with growth
taking place in their own communities.
    "The Foundation is dedicated to bringing the hospital to reality as
quickly as possible, to improve the quality of care in Vaughan and
dramatically reduce wait times for people accessing hospital services." said
Angelo Baldassarra, President of the Foundation. "We believe that the
Government of Ontario understands the need in Vaughan, and we look forward to
working with the Central LHIN and with everyone in our community to continue
to bring our vision to life."
    The Foundation is also working towards other initiatives that will bring
new and expanded care to Vaughan, including the development of a Community
Health Centre slated to open later this year and additional ambulatory care
services and urgent care to address health care gaps experienced by Vaughan
residents.
    In January 2003, a task force of community and civic leaders was struck
to assess how best to bring additional health care resources to the community
of Vaughan. The Vaughan Health Care Foundation, a volunteer driven charity,
emerged from the Task Force in early 2004. Since its inception, the Foundation
has been working tirelessly towards its mission - to raise funds and obtain
the necessary approvals to establish and support health care facilities and
services, including an acute care hospital in the City of Vaughan.
    More information on the Foundation and its work can be found at
www.vaughanhealthcare.com.




For further information:

For further information: Chris Benedetti, Tel: (416) 961-6611 ext. 104,
Cell: (416) 312-8749

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VAUGHAN HEALTH CARE FOUNDATION

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