The Ontario government is funding more than $15 million to assist with the planning and design of the redeveloped Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, according to Ontario Newsroom. The investment's primary goal is to expand its space and services so that people that need hospital beds are not waiting for them.
The current hospital, built in 1956, has been witnessing a surge in the senior population for at least 60 years. Collingwood General and Marine Hospital provides a multitude of services to more than 60,000 people in the community and more than 3.5 million annual visitors from surrounding communities.
The newly redeveloped hospital will include the expansion of services, such as intensive care, emergency, diagnostic imaging and the operating suite, supplementary inpatient capacity, and other renovations to upgrade the existing facility to create a more comfortable environment for patients.
Due to the pandemic and its implications, Collingwood General and Marine hospital is receiving around $2 million in supplementary operating funding beginning this year from the Ontario government. This is a 4.2 percent increase compared to the funding obtained by the hospital last year. Also, this is the third year in a row that Ontario has increased hospital funding throughout the province. Based on its 2021 budget, Ontario is investing $1.8 billion in hospital upgrades in 2021-2022, bringing the total additional investment in hospitals since the beginning of the pandemic to over $5.1 billion. The government is investing over $21 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years for hospital projects across the province that will amount to $30 billion in hospital infrastructure.
These provincial investments come as Ontario prepares for its fourth COVID-19 wave. Experts hope the province’s healthcare systems will not be put under the same pressure as during the last wave. In that instance, non-urgent surgeries had to be postponed and patients were transferred between hospitals to obtain critical care. The Ontario Hospital Association believes the fourth wave could inflict a deadly toll on those who are unvaccinated. It recently called for residents who had not yet received the vaccine to get it before the expected fall increase in case counts arrives.