Why are the two hospitals planning the project together?

Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital are working together to plan for the future of hospital-based services in Kitchener-Waterloo as part of the broader health care system in Waterloo Region and beyond.

Our hospitals have a long history of partnership, including, though not limited to, a joint chief of staff and medical staff, shared health information system (electronic medical record) and digital services, shared clinical support services such as lab, medical imaging, and pharmacy, collaborations on COVID-19 response and the KW4 Ontario Health Team. We are working together, along with the community we serve, our health system partners, and Cambridge Memorial Hospital to plan and build health care infrastructure for the future.

Collaborating on this project will allow us to build something better together and provide increased access to care and services than either of us could accomplish alone.

How long will planning take and when will building begin?

We are currently in the preliminary planning stages. In April 2022, the Government of Ontario provided Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital with a $5-million capital planning grant to support planning for a new shared state-of-the-art hospital and to modernize some of our existing hospital buildings. In May 2022, we submitted a joint proposal to the Ministry of Health which is subject to modification following engagements with the Ministry and the community.

We are currently in the process of identifying a site for the future new acute care hospital. Next steps include finalizing the selected site, further identifying the service needs in our community and further exploring how to deliver this project on the fastest timeline.

These projects have multiple stages of planning and can take, on average, 10 years or longer to complete. We will continue to provide high-quality care across both of our hospitals as we put plans in place to modernize and expand hospital infrastructure for our growing community.

Are we going to lose any hospital services? Are we going to gain any services?

Based on our growing population, we expect to add more patient beds and expand acute care, complex continuing care, and rehabilitation programs. Our planning grant enables us to determine what services we will need in the decades to come, the best locations to deliver these services in collaboration with our community partners and design service models that leverage leading practices, technology and other innovations.

This is about creating the future of care in Waterloo Region and beyond to ensure that our patients have timely access to high-quality, leading-edge care close to home.

How will the community and public be able to provide input into the plan?

Input from the communities we serve is critically important as we plan new hospital infrastructure. We will provide many opportunities for the community to be involved in the planning process and provide input. You can subscribe to receive email updates on the project here https://futureofcaretogether.ca.

How will a new hospital site be selected? Where will this hospital be located?

At this point, we have not selected a preferred location for a new shared hospital.

Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital initiated the site selection process to identify a preferred site in Kitchener-Waterloo to accommodate a new hospital that will continue meeting the health care needs of our community for decades to come.

Following the boards’ review of the site recommendation, GRH and SMGH will put the preferred site forward to the Ministry of Health for consideration and will complete further due diligence. Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital expect to be in position to share more information about next steps in the site selection process in 2024.

Throughout this process there will be many opportunities for engagement with both hospitals, our health system partners, our communities and the government. You can learn more at https://futureofcaretogether.ca/site-selection. Ultimately, a final decision on location will be guided by optimizing access to care for the communities we serve.

Who makes the decision about the location of the new hospital and where services are located across the three sites?

The Grand River Hospital Board of Directors and the St. Mary’s General Hospital Board of Trustees with the St. Joseph’s Health System make all major decisions regarding this project. To support the work of the Boards, a joint committee has been created, the Building the Future of Care Together Committee. The committee includes members of both boards and members of our community.

The Site Selection Panel assembled by the Boards of St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital will lead an independent and transparent process to call for and evaluate land options and determine a preferred site for the new joint hospital. The Panel’s work will be supported by the necessary technical and subject matter expertise and an independent Fairness Advisor to make the best decision for the community.

The Panel will make its recommendation on a preferred site for the new hospital to the Building the Future of Care Together Committee and the Boards of Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital – all of which include members of our local community.

Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital expect to be in position to share more information about next steps in the site selection process in 2024.

What does this mean for the current hospital sites?

St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital provide excellent patient care, but we’ve significantly outgrown our aging and outdated buildings.

The current proposal to the Ministry of Health includes an urgent care centre and ambulatory care including an outpatient surgical centre at the current Grand River mid-town location and expanded rehab and mental health services at Freeport. All sites would be shared by both Grand River and St. Mary’s General Hospital.

The current St. Mary’s site would no longer provide acute care. The future of the site will be determined through the planning process which includes extensive community engagement and engagement with St. Joseph’s Health System.

While we continue to plan for a new and renewed future hospital facilities for 10 years and beyond, continued investment in our current hospitals remains critically important to ensure we can continue to provide high-quality patient care.

The current St. Mary’s General Hospital building is not included in the vision. What does this plan mean for St. Mary’s?

St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital provide excellent patient care, but we’ve significantly outgrown our aging and outdated buildings. St. Mary’s is almost 100 years old. Due to its current infrastructure, it is difficult for St. Mary’s General Hospital to meet current growing capacity demands making the site unable to meet future needs.

St. Mary’s will continue to provide vital hospital services to our communities just as it has for nearly 100 years as both hospitals share new and modern hospital facilities with expanded capacity and services.

Decisions regarding the future of the St. Mary’s hospital building will be determined later in the planning process through engagement with both hospitals, our health system partners, our communities, the St. Joesph’s Health System and the government.

Given this is a joint project, does this mean the hospitals are merging?

Partnering on this infrastructure project does not mean our two organizations will be merging or giving up autonomy. We have a long history of collaboration. This project will enable us to strengthen our partnership while maintaining our organizations’ independent identities and cultures, including our individual missions and values.

How much will this project cost?

At this point, an estimated cost for the overall project has not been determined. Estimated costing will be established later in the capital planning process as we determine the size and scope of the new shared hospital, as well as upgrade work required to modernize existing hospital buildings.

If you have additional questions, please email info@futureofcaretogether.ca.