The Good Life. The Wild Life.
A rich, fulfilling life.
It’s the reward for showing up and working hard, for getting through the tough times while staying true to who you are. Then taking a break, kicking back, doing all the things that make you happy. Enjoying everything that makes Simcoe Muskoka unique.
Whether you’ve lived here your whole life, whether you’ve just moved here, or this is a place where you come to rest and recharge, we all love this place where we work, play and raise our families.
The Coming Storm
We can only enjoy all the things life in Simcoe Muskoka offers if we’re healthy. And right now, one of the resources we use to keep us healthy—our hospitals—are struggling. The demands on our healthcare resources are increasing and it’s putting our good life—our wild life—at risk.
Our region is one of the fastest growing in the province. Forecasts estimate that it will double in the next 20 years.
By the time our population doubles, 1 in 3 of us will be seniors using the hospital 4x more than younger people and staying in-hospital longer.
We’re less healthy.
Our region faces higher rates of obesity, as well as higher tobacco and alcohol use. This means that 1 in 4 of us has a chronic condition, such as heart disease or cancer.
A Case for Change
You or someone you love has experienced the impact of that strain—you may even be in the midst of it right now. You may be feeling it in a number of different hospitals, and RVH is no exception.
Care far from home
Each day, people from Simcoe Muskoka must take time from work and family, and pay the expense, to travel for care that should be available at RVH.
On any given day, every available bed has a patient in it. In recent years, more than 3,000 people–about 10 each day–were cared for at RVH in a hallway or a meeting room.
ED wait times
When all beds are full, patients who need to be admitted must wait in the RVH Emergency Department (ED) for the next open bed. This log jam means more people wait longer in the ED.
“The ability to receive radiation treatments at RVH was so important for my emotional wellbeing.”Drew Hodgins, living his wild life on Bass Lake while receiving radiation treatment at RVH.
Why RVH Needs Your Help
We all rightfully expect the best care, as close to home as possible, as soon as we need it.
When you or someone you love has a fever that won’t go down, or can’t catch their breath, needs rehab to get back on track or is having a healthy baby after a smooth pregnancy, your local hospital, which you know and love, will take care of you.
But when the problem is life-threatening, like cancer, a heart attack or stroke, a trauma, or a mental health crisis, that’s when you need complex, advanced care right away. And that care needs to be top notch, the quality of care we can get in any big city.
That’s when RVH is there for you. Providing world-class, life-saving specialized care close to home for people and families across Simcoe Muskoka.
But, like all hospitals, we’re under strain. And as the only regional healthcare centre providing specialized care, there are widespread implications to everyone in the region.
Our Vision for the Future
Our vision for your care is simple. To give you world-class, specialized care close to home. It’s what we all want and deserve. It’s what will keep our bodies healthy so we can keep living the life we love.
We provide this exceptional care right now. But we need to grow to keep pace with our booming and aging population, many of whom have multiple chronic diseases.
How do we plan to grow? We’re not talking just about getting bigger. We’re completely rethinking what a hospital can be, going far beyond what a hospital is today. We’re planning to build a healthcare system that offers state-of-the-art diagnostics and personalized treatments, delivered by highly trained specialists in spaces that welcome nature as an active participant in care, healing, and wellness. And all of this offered right in your own backyard.
To make our vision your reality, we will:
- Expand RVH’s cancer, heart, trauma, youth mental health and other programs that offer specialized care for patients across Simcoe Muskoka
- Build an all-new healthcare facility in Innisfil, the largest community in the region without its own community hospital
- Innovate by applying research breakthroughs to patient care and adopt leading-edge medical education
- Double the size of our existing site on Georgian Drive, while also doubling the size of our staff to 6,000
Our goal? To keep you healthy. To keep you wild.
“At RVH, they encouraged us to be parents. They taught us that Christopher’s coos, cries, his little noises, they were all milestones to be appreciated.”Stephanie Cobble, enjoying life as a mom after Christopher’s early start at RVH’s NICU
THE NORTH SITE
Expanded, life-saving regional programs
RVH is the only regional health centre in Simcoe Muskoka, with lifesaving regional programs that support care for people in every community in our region. In addition to regional programs, RVH provides life-saving care in other areas, including trauma, as well as high-risk pregnancies and pre-mature babies.
The plan is for the current site in Barrie to double in size to accommodate the growth in patient care. Existing shelled space from the 2012 expansion will be fully fitted-out, and a new 9-storey expansion is planned.
The future will bring more beds, more state-of-the-art equipment and more specialized care.
“The expansion of our regional cancer program will significantly contribute to helping achieve our goal of providing every level of cancer treatment.”
—Dr. Matthew Follwell, Chief of Oncology, RVH Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre.
We will introduce more advanced imaging for more precise and faster diagnosis and treatment. We’ll treat more types of cancer and expand the size of the spaces in which we can provide that care. We’ll also have new, minimally invasive treatments like high dose brachytherapy which places radiation directly into or next to a tumour, to treat gynecological and prostate cancer. Ultimately, our aim is to improve patient outcomes, with less time in hospital, in as few treatments as necessary, and with shorter recovery times, all without having to travel.
We will add a satellite pharmacy and lab testing right in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as well as add new life-saving equipment and treatments, including the most advanced ventilators. We will increase the number of patient rooms, including new airborne isolation rooms, and create a new unite to transition patients from the ICU to regular care units elsewhere in the hospital.
We will provide a full spectrum of world-class cardiac care, including minimally invasive treatments for heart disease, including cardiac MRIs and CT cardiac studies and nuclear scans. Our aim is to treat heart disease quickly and effectively, with rehabilitation plans designed to speed recovery and reduce the risk of heart events in the future.
We’ll expand our mental health care in our Emergency Department (ED), add a new psychiatric intensive care unit and introduce new specialized care programs for youth eating disorders, postpartum and pregnancy loss and more. Our aim is to continue to offer our specialized services, while expanding the areas of mental health care that are needed most.
Women + Babies
We will build a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with leading-edge equipment and enough space to provide the special care needed by babies who arrive as early as 10 weeks ahead of schedule. We will also create a new Women’s Health Centre for minor gynecological procedures, maternal mental health services, menopause and surgical consultation. Our aim is to expand our specialized spaces and make state-of-the-art upgrades to our equipment and technology, keeping our moms and babies healthy and happy.
“The expansion of the Paediatric Inpatient Unit and NICU would allow us to improve our care to all our families and patients.”
—Dr. Leah Bartlett, Chief of Paediatrics and Co-Medical Director of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Youth Programs.
THE SOUTH SITE
A hospital of the future in Innisfil
Innisfil is the biggest town in the region without its own community hospital. This project will finally see a 200,000 square foot health care facility built at Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street.
This location will be focused on out-patient clinics, day surgery and diagnostics.
Importantly, it will include an urgent care centre where people with concerns that aren’t life-threatening, but need to be dealt with quickly, can be seen without having to travel to an emergency department (ED).
We project the facility will see more than a quarter of a million patient visits each year. That’s almost 75,000 people who won’t have to travel out of town to wait in an ED or have their lives turned upside down for an overnight stay in the city.
This is life-changing.
We will be including cardiac and cancer diagnostics and post-procedure follow-up and family supports. In addition, there will be mental health crisis services, addiction treatment and on-going therapy. We’re also planning for specialized paediatric clinics for things like asthma, Autism, ADHD, neo-natal follow-up and many more.
The urgent care clinic at the south site will include access to unscheduled care for issues that are not life-threatening but need to be dealt with immediately, like a broken bone, stitches, a baby with an uncontrollable fever and more. We’ll also offer urgent cardiac care and support for complications that arise during cancer treatment.
We will offer state-of-the-art imaging and diagnostics including x-rays, ultrasounds, CTs, MRIs, breast imaging, fluoroscopy and more.
Two Sites, One Integrated System of Care
With two main sites, RVH’s vision will see the current site in Barrie double in size and focus on acute, complex care for the sickest patients in the region. In Innisfil, we’ll build a new healthcare facility, the first phase of which will be a health hub to provide ambulatory and urgent care, later becoming a full-service hospital with a 24/7 Emergency Department.
TEAM RVH will double to 6,000 staff, with an annual estimated payroll spin-off of $870 million to drive local economic growth.
The Hospital of the Future
Our vision totally rethinks what a hospital can and should be. We’re not talking about just the same hospital, but bigger.
The people we care for are our inspiration. Their experience matters. The better the experience, the more likely a good outcome is. So that’s our starting point. Every aspect of our plan takes this into account.
Our interior spaces will be designed to encourage mental and physical wellbeing—from colour selection, to art on display, to common spaces for people to gather. We will add more natural spaces within the buildings themselves, such as green walls and roofs, to simulate the healing properties of being in nature, while also taking advantage of the outdoor spaces on our properties to create gathering areas, walking paths, water features, and outdoor art installations.
Expansion Phasing and Timeline
RVH’s master plan covers a 20-year time horizon and imagines the future healthcare needs of the region over that period of time, based on current service levels and population growth projections. This capital expansion project covers the first 10 years of the master plan. Specifically, the north site expansion and the construction of the South site healthcare facility. Further expansion of the south site will happen in a subsequent expansion project.
The clock starts on the timelines below once full approvals are secured from the provincial government. It is intended that all three elements of this capital expansion will happen concurrently.
Provincial Capital Planning Process
The planning process has six stages, with provincial government approval required to advance to the next stage. The Stage 1 submission for this project was submitted in March 2022. It is difficult to predict how long each approval stage will take, but we have achieved a couple of notable milestones.
In March 2022, the Government of Ontario approved a ministerial zoning order to allow a hospital to be built on land previously zoned for agriculture. Further, RVH received a $2.5-million grant from the government to fund further detailed planning of the South Campus. These two announcements significantly accelerate the planning process.
A few key things can speed the approval process: positive public opinion from the community and donations from the community. This is where community support is so important. You play a critical role in making our vision of the future of healthcare a reality. Something that benefits us all.
We can’t live our wild life unless we have our health. It’s time we fight for it.
Our region’s wild spirit—the way of life we all love—is being threatened because our precious healthcare resources are under significant pressure.
We can’t live a good life, the wild life, unless we have our health.
Right now, we have a choice to make. Are we going to fight for it?
Join the fight to Keep Life Wild.
Architectural Rendering Images credit: Diamond Schmitt.