London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), the largest hospital network in southwestern Ontario has been developing a process called “master planning.”
“It is a process that you go through with the Ministry of Health in the capitol branch anytime you’re looking at major redevelopment for your organization. We last submitted a master plan in 2013,” explained Brad Campbell, a corporate hospital administrative executive.
Master planning is an outlook and a chance to consult with stakeholders to determine what the next 20 to 30 years will look like, and how health care should change in the community.
“Those inputs led us to put in a starting point of we need to do better for people with mental health and addictions issues,” Campbell said.
Overcrowding, longer wait times, and the inability to properly deal with mental health and addictions patients could lead to a stand-alone facility.
“The building that was built 20 years ago and probably designed 10 years before that is obviously the fact that we have our mental health emergency department housed in a busy adult emergency department in Victoria Hospital is not serving the population,” he said.
Members of London’s Health Coalition are encouraged there is discussion happening, but are concerned the most pressing issues will not be properly addressed.
“The CEO and the people at hospital board they really need…to fight and advocate for increases in in funding to increase their capacity,” said Jeff Hanks, co-chair of the London Health Coalition.
Peter Bergmanis, the other co-chair wants to see accounting for care that is needed.
“We could actually establish you know, some sort of a ground level for the city to know how many beds we should have and how many staff we should have. I’m thinking that we would be reinvesting money and resources because this city is seeing nothing but overcrowding,” he said.
Consultations will continue for the next few months before an initial proposal is sent to the province in the summer of 2023.
“This is a multi-year process where you get your master plan approved, so we don’t also have to have it perfect in March of this year. We have to evolve our initial starting hypothesis,” he said.
Ultimately, it could mean new facilities, offers of service, and a change of how health care is delivered in the community.
The process is expected to take roughly four years before anything definitive is announced.