Plans for 2nd RVH hospital campus in Innisfil, Ont. unveiled by local officials

Local officials in Simcoe County unveiled plans for a future Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) campus in Innisfil, Ont., on Wednesday morning.

The plan for the future 83-acre site at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Innisfil Beach Road will evolve over the next two decades, though officials say the first phase of the south campus will be built within the next 10 years.

The first phase will include a health hub that focuses on outpatient care, including an urgent care centre.

Within 20 years, RVH’s south campus will expand to become a full-service hospital, with a 24/7 emergency department.

When the south hospital is finished, officials say it will be about the size of the current RVH campus on Georgian Drive, which sees 350,000 patient visits each year.

“This is a historic moment as we take this important step in bringing care closer to home for the people of south Simcoe County,” Charlotte Wallis, chair of RVH’s board of directors, said in a statement.

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The decision to build a second RVH campus in Innisfil came after an exhaustive search process and extensive community consultation.

Officials say they searched a 225 sq/km area in Innisfil and south Barrie to find the right location for the new hospital, which will be built next to the Innisfil civic campus and the Rizzardo Health and Wellness Centre.

Officials also consulted with various populations, Indigenous and Francophone partners, patients, families, staff, physicians and volunteers. Since 2018, RVH logged 30,000 engagement interactions.

“Ten technical expert reviews concluded this is the ideal location for a hospital,” RVH CEO Janice Skot said in a statement.

“RVH’s south campus will bring significant economic growth, housing, new businesses, and most importantly, enhanced health-care services closer to home for generations to come.”

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RVH also announced it would double the size of its Georgian Drive location, including a new nine-storey inpatient tower.

Officials say both RVH’s north and south campuses are “interdependent” and that “one can’t proceed without the other.”

More than 170,000 new residents are projected to move to south Simcoe County by 2041, which makes the new hospital’s construction essential, according to officials.

“RVH is already bursting at the seams,” Skot said. “Prior to the pandemic, its medicine bed occupancy rate consistently exceeded 115 per cent. Patients were routinely cared for in hallways.”

On Wednesday, RVH began Phase 2 of its engagement plan with site-specific consultation. Residents can share their thoughts here or learn more by attending the virtual community listening session on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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